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Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will answer the question tabled by the hon. Member for Solihull on 11 April concerning witnesses attending identification parades. 
Mr. Denham: The budget for the Immigration and Nationality Directorate IND for 200203 is £1,031 million. This figure is provisional and any proposed changes will be notified to Parliament though supplementary estimates. This figure is also on a resource basis and no comparable budget figures are available for 1990. However, IND expenditure for the two financial years covering 1990, on a cash basis, was as follows:
|Actual expenditure £ million|
A significant portion of the overall budget for 200203 relates to asylum support, which before 19992000 was assigned to the Departments of Health and Social Security not the Immigration and Nationality Directorate.
|Year||Applications received (principal applicants only)||Applications received (including dependants)(33)|
(31) Figures rounded to the nearest five.
(32) May exclude some cases lodged at Local Enforcement
(33) Offices between January 1999 and March 2000.
(34) Provisional data.
Information on asylum applications is published quarterly. The next publication will be available from 30 August 2002 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate web site at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
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Child protection on the internet.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans there are to make passports and visa information better protected against fraud; what assessment has been made of the viability of biometrics; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: The British digital passport is one of the most secure in the world. It is machine readable and complies with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standard for passports. It contains a digital photograph and a digital signature of the holder, and the personal identification page is protected by a clear plastic laminate incorporating a holographic device which further protects the portrait. The personal identification page is also protected by a series of laser perforations. The use of special paper and printing techniques provide added security. The security features in the passport document remain under continuing review in case a feature is compromised by fraudsters.
The United Kingdom Passport Service (UKPS) is considering the use of biometrics (fingerprints, iris, facial recognition) in passport books and cards both to further enhance security and to prevent the issue of multiple passports in the same identity. It is keeping in close touch with work being undertaken by ICAO post September 11 to develop an international standard for the use of biometrics in passports. In addition and in support of the concept of an entitlement card the UKPS has commissioned a study from the National Physical laboratory on the application of biometrics in an entitlement scheme. This study will look at iris, fingerprint and facial recognition templates and their application within large databases.
The issue of visas at diplomatic posts overseas, is the responsibility of UKvisas, a joint Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Department. Visas are issued on specifically designed vignettes that contain various security features in a common European Union format. A revised European Union common format vignette is being designed and should be brought into use in April 2004. The new format will incorporate space for a digital photograph of the applicant. There are no plans
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Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will estimate the cost to the national health service of the salaries of doctors on suspension and absent on special leave during the most recent year for which figures are available; 
Mr. Hutton: The Department routinely collects information quarterly in regard to the suspension of hospital medical and dental staff and reported costs incurred. This information is not broken down into salary or locum costs or legal fees. Of the 30 doctors and community dentists currently suspended for more than six months, 22 are consultants. No such information is held regarding doctors on special leave.
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if Powderject has applied for a licence for the smallpox vaccine; and if such a licence was included in the specification provided by his Department. 
Mr. Hutton: The Department has bought an unlicensed smallpox vaccine. It is anticipated that the company will seek a licence at an appropriate time in the future. The company has agreed to abide by the new European Union guidelines, as set out by the European agency for the evaluation of medicinal products for the development of vaccinia based vaccines against smallpox. Currently, there are no smallpox vaccines available that are licensed.
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Mr. Hutton: There are estimated to be about 240 general practitioner (GP) out-of-hours co-operatives in England. But they are not national health service organisations and as such the Department does not therefore collect or hold comprehensive data on them. For similar reasons GP co-operatives are not connected to the NHS intranet.
Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to make it easier for doctors from Australia and New Zealand to practise in the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: The Department of Health is working closely with the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice, Specialist Training Authority and medical Royal Colleges to enable suitably qualified and experienced doctors from overseas wishing to enter the UK medical practice to do so as quickly as is possible.
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