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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were (a) arrested and charged with and (b) convicted of cannabis possession in (i) the Thames Valley police authority area and (ii) every other police authority area in each of the last four years. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Arrest data are not collected centrally by individual offence.
Information from the Home Office Court Proceedings Database showing the number of persons convicted of the possession of cannabis by police force area during the period 19972000 is given in the table.
|Police force area||1997||1998||1999||2000|
|Avon and Somerset||140||201||260||311|
|Devon and Cornwall||492||587||517||479|
|London, City of||67||89||70||23|
|England and Wales||17,275||22,643||22,623||20,725|
n/a = not available
(20) Estimates made for Staffordshire police force, who were able to submit data for only a sample of weeks for year 2000, have been included only in the total.
All data are given on a principal offence basis.
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Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the effect on the (a) quantity of cannabis consumed in the UK, (b) quantity of tobacco consumed in the UK and (c) number of people in the UK using cannabis that would result from the reclassification of cannabis from a Class B to Class C drug. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I do not anticipate that a decision to reclassify cannabis from Class B to Class C under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 would have any effect on the number of people using the drug or the quantity consumed. Cannabis will remain a controlled drug and using it still a criminal offence.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reviews of sex offences are in progress in his Department; and when their conclusions will be reported to the House. 
Mr. Keith Bradley: The Government set up a Sex Offences Review in January 1999. Its recommendations on reforming the law on sex offences were published in 'Setting the Boundaries' in July 2000. We are now considering the recommendations in the light of the over 700 responses to that consultation document. We hope to make an announcement as soon as possible.
In addition responses to consultation on a review of Part One of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 (the register of sex offenders) are currently being analysed.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information will be stored on the asylum seekers' identification smart card. 
Angela Eagle: The Application Registration Card or 'ARC' will have a microchip which could enable it to support financial transactions in due course. In addition, it is currently envisaged that the following data will be stored within the microchip:
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However, these lists are still subject to change. Card design will not be confirmed until 9 November.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum claims by (a) families, (b) unaccompanied minors and (c) all persons were rejected on the grounds of non-compliance (i) as an initial decision and (ii) as a final decision, as a percentage of all decisions, for each of the last six months. 
Angela Eagle: The available information on initial decisions made on asylum claims made by (a) principal applicants and (b) families are included in the table. Decision data for unaccompanied minors are unavailable.
|Initial decisions made||Refused on non- compliance grounds||Percentage of total decisions|
(21) Figures (other than percentages) rounded to nearest 5.
(22) Information is of initial decision excluding the outcome of appeals of other subsequent decisions.
(23) May include some cases decided under the backlog criteria.
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|Initial decisions made||Refused on non- compliance grounds||Percentage of total decisions|
(25) Figures (other than percentages) rounded to nearest 5.
(26) Information is of initial decision excluding the outcome of appeals of other subsequent decisions.
(27) May include some cases decided under the backlog criteria.
5 Nov 2001 : Column: 86W
Information on final decisions are not readily available and would only be obtained by examination of individual case files relating to the outcomes of initial decisions, appeals and reconsiderations, which would incur disproportionate cost.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the percentage of applications for asylum refused on non-compliance grounds at the initial decision stage by country of origin in the last six months. 
Angela Eagle: The information requested has been provided in the table.
|Europe||Total decisions||Total refused||Percentage of total decisions||Refused on non-compliance grounds||Percentage of total decisions||Percentage of total refusals|
|Other former USSR||1,650||1,560||95||545||33||35|
|Other former Yugo.||525||480||91||100||19||21|
|Dem Rep of Congo||1,455||1,115||77||125||9||11|
|Other and unknown nationalities||825||635||77||140||17||22|
(29) Figures (other than percentages) rounded to nearest five.
(30) Information is of initial decision excluding the outcome of appeals of other subsequent decisions.
(31) May include some cases decided under the backlog criteria.
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Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what purpose asylum seekers will be required to present their application registration cards. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 1 November 2001]: Asylum seekers will not be required to present Application Registration Cards (ARCs) other than for immigration and asylum purposes. They are being introduced to help them identify themselves in order to access Asylum Support services. The current standard acknowledgement letter (SAL) is too open to forgery and counterfeiting.
Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether employers will be required to check the Application Registration Card of employees they believe to be asylum seekers. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 1 November 2001]: Employers are not currently required to check an asylum seeker's standard acknowledgement letter (SAL) but they must ensure that any person they are proposing to employ has permission to work in this country. Employers who fail to carry out such checks may be committing an offence under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996.
The Application Registration Card will be issued to all new asylum seekers. It is not envisaged that it will in itself confer permission to work and a statement to that effect will be on the reverse of the card. Other evidence will have to be provided for employers to check eligibility for employment. However, the card will help the holder to establish his/her identity.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much money per (a) individual and (b) family was allocated to Barnsley metropolitan district council in respect of (i) council housing for asylum seekers and (ii) financial support for asylum seekers in the last 12 months. 
Angela Eagle: In the year from 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001 Barnsley metropolitan district council received £629,478.62 in grant for supporting asylum seekers, including unaccompanied asylum seeking children. This was based on unit costs of (a) £140 per week per single person and (b) £240 per week for a family. This amount is inclusive of (i) housing and (ii) other support.
5 Nov 2001 : Column: 88W
Barnsley is a member of the Yorkshire and Humberside consortium and provides housing under contract to National Asylum Support Service but it is not possible to identify the amounts directly attributable to Barnsley.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers in Barnsley metropolitan borough council are funded by the Government. 
Angela Eagle: The available information comes from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) which supports asylum seekers who applied for asylum on or after the 3 April 2000. Information is not available centrally on the number of asylum seekers in Barnsley who are funded by the Government under the Interim Support Scheme.
Statistics from NASS, for the end of July 2001, show that 160 1 , 2 asylum seekers (including dependants) were being supported in NASS accommodation in Barnsley.
A further 150 1 , 2 , asylum seekers (including dependants) were receiving voucher only support from NASS in the Yorkshire and Humberside region, which includes Barnsley.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) asylum seekers, and (b) others applying under immigration law whose cases and appeals have failed (i) left the UK voluntarily and (ii) remained in the UK; if he is aware of their whereabouts; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: 550 persons left the United Kingdom under the Voluntary Assisted Returns Programme in 2000. It is not possible to say how many other persons voluntarily left the United Kingdom without the knowledge of the Home Office, or left voluntarily after enforcement action had been initiated.
Comprehensive information on the number and location of persons who remain in the UK after having exhausted their rights of appeal is not available.
5 Nov 2001 : Column: 89W
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