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7 Nov 2002 : Column 809Wcontinued
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will list for each area-based initiative for which his Department is responsible the amount originally budgeted for in (a) 200001 and (b) 200102, stating in each year what funds budgeted for were not spent and if they were carried forward. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been arrested in the Portsmouth, South constituency in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Denham: Information on the number of arrests for notifiable offences is collected centrally at police force area level only. Available information shows that in 19992000 there were 42,598 arrests for notifiable offences within the Hampshire police force area and in 200001 (latest available) 39,420. Information for earlier years is not available on a consistent basis. Figures for 200102 will be available in due course.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many applicants under the expedited appeals process (a) between 1 April 2001 and 31 March 2002 and (b) since 1 April 2002 received
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(i) legal advice and assistance in preparing their asylum appeal and (ii) legal representation at the appeal hearing; 
Appeals are expedited where the appellant's claim has been processed at Oakington, they remain detained after leaving Oakington, and the appeal has been certified as falling within paragraph 9(4)(a) or (b) or paragraph 9(5)(a) or (b) of schedule 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (appeals which are manifestly unfounded).
Appeals in the expedited process have no first hearing and are listed for a full hearing no earlier than six and no later than eight working days from receipt of the appeal by the Immigration Appellate Authority (IAA).
Advice and assistance for preparing an asylum appeal is available to all asylum applicants at Oakington. The Immigration Advisory Service and Refugee Legal Centre both have on-site representatives and will act for any asylum applicants held at Oakington. Subject to means and merits tests, applicants will be entitled to receive legal representation funded by the Legal Services Commission at their appeal hearing.
Asylum statistics are published quarterly. The latest published figures give information up to and including June 2002. Data relating to the period beyond June 2002 are not yet available. The next publication giving figures up to and including September will be available from 29 November 2002 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library the results of his research to examine asylum reception policies and practice of Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: Research examining the decision making of asylum seekers and the reasons why they seek asylum in the UK in preference to other countries has already been conducted. This was based on interviews with a small sample of asylum seekers and refugees. Because the sample size was relatively small, the
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conclusion that can be drawn from the research must be interpreted with caution. The report of the findings was published by the Home Office in July 2002 ('Understanding the Decision Making of Asylum Seekers' by Vaughan Robinson and Jeremy Segrott Home Office Research Study number 243 / Home Office Findings number 172).
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has commissioned research to survey a small sample of people in detention centres who have been illegally resident in the UK (some of whom may not have entered illegally but have become illegal since entering the UK). My right hon. Friend is considering commissioning a study of a small sample of overstayers. Again, the relatively small sample size means that any results would need to be interpreted with caution. Both research studies take the form of in-depth interviews with these people, and the findings are expected to include some information about the factors that attracted them to the UK.
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 5 November 2002]: Applications for asylum in the United Kingdom are considered individually on their merits in accordance with the UK's obligations under the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol. Unless the Dublin Convention applies or the applicant may reasonably be expected on other grounds to seek asylum in a third country, asylum is granted where the applicant fulfils the criteria of the 1951 UN Convention.
Slavery can constitute persecution. Where the application is based upon slavery we will assess whether that slavery relates to one of the Convention grounds, whether the state authorities are willing or able to offer effective protection against it, and whether the applicant could reasonably be expected to move to another part of the country where he or she would be safe.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to employ independent consultants to assess the effectiveness of asylum accommodation centres that are opened as part of the initial trial of such centres. 
Beverley Hughes: The evaluation will be led by the Immigration, Research and Statistics Servicepart of the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate. It will include a combination of management information, consultation with relevant people and more formal research carried out by independent researchers under contract to the Home Office. The results of the accommodation centres evaluation will be publicly available and made available to Parliament.
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Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had about the provision of (a) a floating asylum accommodation centre with possible suppliers of such facilities and (b) core and cluster asylum accommodation centres with the Refugee Council; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: I met the Refugee Council on 21 October to discuss their proposals. That dialogue will continue. We have not ruled out the possibility of using floating accommodation centres for asylum seekers.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers there are in Blackburn; and how many are resident in (a) private accommodation and (b) publicly provided accommodation. 
As at the end of June 2002 there were 880 1 asylum seekers (including dependants) who were being supported in NASS accommodation in Blackburn. The number of asylum seekers who have been placed by NASS into private or publically owned accommodation is not available.
Beverley Hughes: Newport is a designated cluster area. As at 30 June 2002 there were 20* asylum seekers including dependants supported in the National Asylum Support Service accommodation in Newport. Within Wales as a whole a further 175* asylum seekers, including dependants, are in receipt of subsistence only support.
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