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United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 18 April 2002, Official Report, column 1155W, on the UN Convention on Rights of the Child, what measures are in place to inform (a) adult asylum seekers with children and (b) unaccompanied child asylum seekers about the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child. [54110]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 7 May 2002]: Asylum seekers are able to access legal advice to assist them with their applications and this should include information about their rights under international conventions. All unaccompanied minors who apply for asylum are referred to the Refugee Council's Panel of Advisers, a non- statutory body which acts as adviser to the child in his or her dealings with the Home Office and other agencies for the duration of the asylum claim.

Criminal Case Review Commission

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what fees and expenses are available for full and part-time members of the Criminal Case Review Commission panellists; and what the median annual income from public funds of Criminal Case Review Commission full and part-time panellists is. [53754]

Mr. Keith Bradley: Details of salary and emoluments of all commission members are published in the commission's annual report, a copy of which is lodged in the Library.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration was given by the Criminal Case Review Commission to the prioritisation of the allegation of miscarriage of justice brought by Mr. Robert Brown; on what date the case papers of Mr. Brown were received by the Criminal Case Review Commission; on what date a caseworker was allocated to his case; on what date the caseworker's report was completed; on what date Mr. Brown was informed of a pending hearing before a three-person panel of the Criminal Case Review Commission; what date is planned for a panel hearing; on what date the Criminal Case Review Commission were informed of the health of Mr. Brown's mother; if compassionate grounds constitute a factor to be taken into account by the Criminal Case Review Commission in progressing a case; and how many of the proposed panel members are retained on a part-time basis by the Criminal Case Review Commission. [53753]

Mr. Keith Bradley: Mr. Brown's application was received by the Criminal Case Review Commission on 2 October 1997. It was routinely allocated to a case review manager on 21 October 1999. It remains under review. The progress of cases is as expeditious as possible taking into account the factors of individual cases. The Commission does not publicly release details of its cases or their applicants.

Asylum Induction Centre (Dover)

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the asylum induction centre in Dover will be fully operational; and if he will make a statement. [53907]

9 May 2002 : Column 334W

Angela Eagle [holding answer 2 May 2002]: Applicants are housed on a full-board basis. Migrant Helpline and the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) provide support services daily leading to dispersal within seven days of arrival. Those who do not seek NASS support are fully briefed about the asylum process in the United Kingdom and an interview is arranged on their behalf.

Presently health screening is provided through the East Kent health authority, and is funded by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate for a six-month pilot period, at the end of which the process will be evaluated before decisions are taken on the delivery of health screening within induction centres throughout the United Kingdom.

Oakington Detention Centre

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the future of the Oakington Detention Centre site. [53904]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 2 May 2002]: The fast track asylum facility operated at the Oakington Reception Centre is a key element within the Government's overall strategy for processing asylum applicants as speedily as possible. Subject to the outcome of the appeal to the House of Lords, we intend that the fast track process will continue to operate as at present. We fully expect to have the use of the Oakington facility until October 2004 but, in view of the outstanding judicial proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

Arranged Marriages

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the Government's policy towards arranged marriages, with special reference to immigration. [54497]

Angela Eagle: There is no policy relating to arranged marriages.

Abu Hamza

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the suspension of Abu Hamza by the Charity Commission from his position with the charity, the North London Centre Mosque, with special reference to the basis for the Charity Commissioner's action. [54202]

Angela Eagle: The decision to suspend Abu Hamza is a matter for the Charity Commission as the Government Department responsible for charities in England and Wales. The Director of Operations at the Charity Commission will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

Parliamentary Questions

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the question from the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling) on the special voucher scheme (ref: 46319). [53886]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 2 May 2002]: I replied to the hon. Member's question yesterday, Official Report, column 233W. I apologise for the delay in responding.

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Press and Public Relations

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the annual budget for communications activities, including press, public

9 May 2002 : Column 336W

relations, marketing and internal communications, was for his Department for each financial year from 1997–98 to 2001–02. [39915]

Angela Eagle: The information for the Home Office is as follows:

Communications budgets 1997 to 2002

Press office running costs 1,095,0001,213,2001,606,1001,505,100
Press office programme costs
Prison press media running costs 578,100467,500
Prison press media programme costs
Marketing running costs 950,950986,200758,300815,000
Marketing programme costs4,121,0007,459,05011,050,00032,874,00025,115,000
Internal communications unit running costs 692,600814,500
Internal communications unit programme costs
Internal communications ('Inside Track' staff magazine) 125,000130,000
Internal advisers running costs373,200480,500
Internal advisers programme costs
Grand total4,121,0009,505,00013,249,40036,429,20028,860,100

(25) The figure for 1997–98 is given as a single total. This was the first year that publicity budgets were devolved to directorates, also at that time all expenditure including running costs were entered under one cost code; therefore a more detailed breakdown is not available.

As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and my right hon. Friend his predecessor (Mr. Straw) have said on a number of occasions, increases in spending on communications activities have largely come about for two reasons. Firstly, the expansion of the Home Office Press Office, which took effect in late 2000, was to cope with the widened responsibilities—particularly relating to the Government's reform programme and a significant increase in demand from the media. The second expansion has been on marketing and advertising where a number of substantial and important public information campaigns were mounted—including fire safety, electoral registration, and vehicle crime reduction and, more recently, the continuing highly effective police recruitment campaign which has contributed greatly to the achievement of the highest level of police officers.

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