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27 Apr 2001 : Column: 434W
Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if asylum seekers are given health checks; if they are treated for (a) TB, (b) AIDS and (c) other infectious diseases; and what arrangements are made for maintaining such treatment when asylum seekers are dispersed by private sector accommodation providers. 
Mrs. Roche: Asylum seekers are eligible for free treatment by a General Practitioner (GP) and hospital care on the same basis as anyone else eligible to receive National Health Service treatment. Health authorities are encouraged to make contact with asylum seekers and to offer them screening for tuberculosis.
The National Asylum Support Service is responsible for destitute asylum seekers and, where they give consent, is able to pass their names and addresses on to the health authority responsible for the area to which they are dispersed. Both the accommodation provider and the local one stop service will assist the asylum seekers with registration with a GP.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the reasons were for the increase in the projected costs of (a) the Warnings Index and (b) the National Asylum Seeker's Service IS/IT system as listed on page 116 of his Department's Annual report. 
Mrs. Roche: The projected cost of the Warnings Index Redevelopment Project has risen to allow for additional terminals at ports and Immigration Service offices as part of the expansion of Immigration and Nationality Directorate. While there has been delay to the date of expected completion of redevelopment, this has not added to expected payments from Home Office to ICL as it is a fixed price contract.
The original cost estimate for Information System/Information Technology (IS/IT) for the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) was £6 million in 1999-2000 and 2000-01, for a 'day one' system when NASS started on 1 April 2000 and subsequent enhancements. The £15 million cost estimate plans for possible further developments up to March 2004, though these have not yet been fully designed or commissioned.
Mrs. Roche: Provisional estimates from Immigration and Nationality Directorate indicate that about half of substantive new applications made in January 2001 (the latest month where data are available) received an initial decision within two months.
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Mrs. Roche [holding answer 26 April 2001]: We had hoped to complete the review early this year. Unfortunately it is taking longer than anticipated to address the issues arising from the review. We now aim to announce our conclusions as early as possible in the summer.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to achieve his PSA target of reducing asylum decision times to two months or less in 70 per cent. of cases. 
Mrs. Roche [holding answer 26 February 2001]: The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) Business Plan target for 2000-01 was to decide 70 per cent. of new substantive asylum applications within two months by March 2001. Provisional estimates from IND indicate that about half of substantive new applications made in January 2001 received an initial decision within two months. Performance on applications made in February and March is improved and we are on course to deliver our Public Service Agreement target of deciding 60 per cent. of new substantive asylum cases within two months for the 12 months from April 2001.
Mr. Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers who arrived from Kosovo as minors and applied for refugee status in 1999 are awaiting a decision on their case; and when Miss Klaida Eminaj, a constituent, who entered the United Kingdom in 1999 will a decision on her case. 
Mrs. Roche: Information on the number of asylum seekers who arrived from Kosovo as minors and applied for asylum in 1999 is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case files. Information relating to the total number of applications from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) includes the Kosovo figures, and is published in the Asylum Bulletin 1999, a copy of which is available in the Library.
Mrs. Roche: We had hoped to complete the review early this year. Unfortunately it is taking longer than anticipated to address the issues arising from the review. We now aim to announce our conclusions as early as possible in the summer.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which organisations have made representations to him during his review of the asylum voucher system; if he will place copies of these representations in the Library; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Straw: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend, the Member for Regent's Park and Kensington, North (Ms Buck) on 28 July 2000, Official Report, column 1167W. Contract negotiations for developing the Marsham Street site as a public private partnership project are currently in progress with Anne's Gate Property plc, the preferred bidder. These negotiations are not expected to complete until later this year.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been (a) arrested, (b) detained and (c) charged with offences; how many had removal or deportation proceedings instituted against them as a result of Operation Leighton; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Roche: Operation Leighton, conducted on the morning of 24 April, resulted in 18 people being arrested on suspicion of involvement in facilitation, production of false documents and organising labour. A further 107 persons were arrested on suspicion of entering the United Kingdom illegally, overstaying or working in breach of entry conditions, of that total 94 were detained. To date 77 have been removed.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the purpose is of the increase in the budget of the Commission for Racial Equality for 2001-02 as set out on page 117 of his annual report. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Additional grant-in-aid has been provided to enable the Commission for Racial Equality to meet its new responsibilities under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and to modernise the organisation.
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held at Oakington during the financial year 2000-01; what the average period of time was for which an asylum seeker stayed at Oakington; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Roche: From 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001, there were 5,064 principal applicants received at Oakington. These consisted of 4,430 single applicants and 634 families (with 1,210 dependants). Although data for the financial year are not available, Immigration and Nationality Directorate estimate that the average stay was between seven and 10 days.
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