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Jean Corston: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department whether the UK intends to sign and ratify Protocol 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, on the death penalty, when it is opened for signature. 
Mr. Wills: Yes. The Government will sign Protocol 13 with a view to ratification when it is opened for signature at the next Council of Ministers meeting at Vilnius on 2 and 3 May. We will seek Parliament's approval under the Human Rights Act to add this Protocol to the Convention rights set out in that Act.
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to review the UK reservation on the United Nations convention on the rights of the child; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: The United Kingdom ratified the United Nations convention on the rights of the child in 1991. The reservation in respect of article 22 in no way inhibits the discharge of our obligations under the convention. It is there to safeguard the right of the United Kingdom to determine its own immigration and nationality laws. We have carefully reviewed the reservation in the light of
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recent requests that it should be withdrawn. However, we are convinced that it remains necessary in the interests of maintaining an effective immigration control.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total cost of running the Department's press office was in (a) 199697 and (b) the latest year for which figures are available. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The total cost of running the Home Office press office in 199697 was £1,229,000. This does not include the cost of the then separate Prison Service Media Relations Unit, for which no detailed central records exist. The costs for the year 200102 were £2,415,606 including a cost of £358,399 for media relations for the Prison Service, now integrated into the Home Office press office.
Staff numbers increased when a 'breaking news' press team was established in 2000. This was one of the recommendations from the independent external consultants who carried out a review of the structure and operation of the press office in 1999. One of the benefits has been that media calls to the press office, one of the busiest in Whitehall, are now being answered within four rings 90 per cent. of the time. Previously there were occasions when up to 40 per cent. of media calls were being 'lost'.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish the (a) number and (b) value of contracts awarded by his Department to (i) Arthur Andersen, (ii) Deloitte Touche, (ii) Ernst and Young, (iv) KPMG and (v) PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants in each year since 1997. 
Angela Eagle: The available information on the number and value of contracts awarded by the Home Department to (i) Arthur Andersen, (ii) Deloitte and Touche, (iii) Ernst and Young, (iv) KPMG and (v) PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants in each year since 1997 is as follows:
|Company||Number of contracts||Value £|
|Ernst and Young||1||10,665|
|Ernst and Young||1||35,250|
|Ernst and Young||2||311,000|
|Deloitte and Touche||1||130,000|
|Ernst and Young||2||1,166,913|
|2001 to date|
|Deloitte and Touche||1||15,800|
|Ernst and Young||1||429,000|
The Home Office has not awarded any contracts to Andersen for the period in question.
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Contracts were awarded following civil service rules.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times Ministers in his Department have travelled abroad at taxpayers' expense since March 2001; what countries they visited; and what the total cost of each visit was. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Since 1999 this Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. The Government have also published on an annual basis the cost of all Ministers' visits overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Library. The 1999 list contained information on all such visits undertaken from 2 May 1997 to 31 April 1999. Details for travel undertaken in the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002 will be published as soon as possible after the end of the current financial year.
All travel is undertaken fully in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are available in the Library.
Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the change in incidences of theft of identity and his initiatives to tackle this crime. 
Mr. Denham: The recorded crime statistics do not record specifically incidence of identity theft as this often forms part of another crime such as credit card fraud.
However, it is generally acknowledged that the incidences of identity theft and identity fraud are rising. The Government estimate that the current cost of identity theft and fraud to the United Kingdom economy is at least £1.2 billion per annum, though it is difficult to isolate the cost of identity theft and fraud from the cost of other types of theft and fraud.
Following an extensive study on identity fraud which has been led by officials in the Cabinet Office, the Home Office will co-ordinate the development and implementation of a work programme to counter identity theft and fraud and the private sector will be invited to participate. The Government will seek views on potential initiatives to counter identity fraud in a consultation paper. I refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, North and Sefton, East (Mr. Howarth) on 5 February 2002, Official Report, column 872W.
Some of the potential initiatives on which the Government will be consulting will include:
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Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many illegal entrants were detained when entering the UK by truck through Dover in each quarter of 2001. 
Angela Eagle: In 2001 the Immigration Service at Dover eastern docks detected and initially detained a total of 2,835 illegal entrants attempting to enter the United Kingdom concealed in vehicles, mainly lorries. By quarter, the figures for Dover in 2001 were 572 (January to March), 596 (April to June), 871 (July to September) and 796 (October to December).
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what Government buildings owned by his Department have solar panels installed. 
Angela Eagle: At present no Home Office buildings have solar panels installed. However, a pilot study to install solar water heaters at Her Majesty's Prison Prescoed is out to tender. If successful, consideration will be given to extending the use of solar water heaters to other prison establishments. A new unit at Her Majesty's Prison Askham Grange is also to include solar water heating panels.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Woking dated 7 November 2001 and 9 January on the subject of Mrs. Dayekh on appeal (ref no VV 03010/2001). 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 18 April 2002]: My right hon. and noble Friend Lord Rooker wrote to the hon. Member on 24 April 2002. I am sorry for the delay in replying.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason the Department has not responded to the application for consideration of political asylum for Mr. Mohamed, an Iraqi national, port reference EDD/01/20967 and HO reference M1051379, which was submitted on 10 April 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: I wrote to the hon. Member on 29 April 2002.
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