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16 Dec 2003 : Column 858Wcontinued
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what he estimates will be the delay to the transfer of housing stock to the Peterborough Housing Corporation whilst the Inland Revenue's ruling of 24 October is considered. 
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which (a) local authorities and (b) regional assemblies (i) have received and (ii) will receive planning grants in 200304; what (A) methodology and (B) consultation is being used by his Department concerning its distribution; what funds will be allocated for planning in 200405; and for what reason this grant is not ring fenced. 
Keith Hill: The recipients of planning delivery grant in 200304 were all district, unitary, metropolitan district and London borough councils, all national park authorities, all regional planning bodies, together with the common council of the City of London, the council of the Isles of Scilly, the Broads authority and the Greater London Authority. Their grant for 200304 has been paid in full.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister set out the methodology for the distribution of the grant in a letter sent on 10 February 2003 to hon. Members. I have sent a further copy of that letter to the hon. Member. Before the announcement of the allocations was made, we consulted key stakeholders about the method of distribution.
The planning delivery grant is not ring fenced in line with our general policy on grants to local government whereby local authorities are free to consider how best to deliver outcomes. In the case of the planning delivery grant, there is an incentive to spend the grant on planning services because further allocations will only be made if planning performance continues to improve.
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Ms Blears: From 1 April 1999 up to 31 May 2000 information on the numbers of Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) was collected by police force area (pfa) on the numbers issued only. From 1 June 2000 up to 30 June 2003, latest available, data was collected by magistrates courts committee (MCC) area on the number granted and refused and from copies of the orders we have been able to identify local government authority (lga) areas involved.
The number of notifications received by the Home Office of ASBOs issued within the Wycombe lga, in which the Wycombe constituency is situated, from 1 June 2000 up to 30 June 2003 is two. One order was issued in 2000 and one order was issued in 2001.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the initial salary payable to initial decision makers in asylum applications is; and how long the period of training is; 
Beverley Hughes: The vast majority of initial decisions in asylum applications are made by Executive Officers. The initial salary of an executive officer is not less than £15,557 nationally. In London rates are higher and staff also receive a locational allowance. Pay levels are reviewed each year, and in addition, all fully effective and exceptionally effective staff receive a performance related progression increase. The Department has proposed increasing the initial salary to a minimum of £16,606 nationally with effect from 1 January 2004 and is also considering increases to locational allowances. All new initial decision makers in asylum applications receive intensive training, comprising an initial 11 day course on all aspects of asylum work, 13 days in a special mentoring unit, and a three day intensive interviewing course (which is followed up by a consolidation workshop after three months in post). All asylum decision makers receive continual support and mentoring from more experienced colleagues in a team working environment where the sharing and pooling of acquired expertise is actively encouraged. They also receive any additional training or mentoring
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necessitated by changes in legislation and procedures, and attend developmental presentations or seminars provided by organisations such as UNHCR and the Medical Foundation. The effectiveness of training is regularly evaluated to ensure it continues to match their induction and development needs.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with Scottish ministers concerning the impact on the Scottish Legal Aid Board of his asylum policies. 
Beverley Hughes: Legal aid is a devolved function and it is for Scottish Ministers to decide how to address Scotland's needs in line with the overall UK policy on asylum. There have been no formal discussions with Scottish Ministers on this matter, although officials keep in touch with developments on both sides of the border.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from established churches in Scotland concerning his policy in relation to the detention of families with children in removal centres. 
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many appeals from immigrants based on their being either a victim of crime or fear of being a victim of crime in their own country where the effective rule of law is uncertain are outstanding; and how many there were in the last 12 months. 
Information on the number of such appeals awaiting determination, relating to cases based on the appellant being either a victim of crime or their having fear of being a victim of crime in their own country where the effective rule of law is uncertain, is not compiled.
Statistics on the number of asylum appeals awaiting determination are published quarterly. The most recent publication covering the third quarter of 2003 is now available from the Library of the House or on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
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available were accompanied by dependants under the age of 18. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 8 December 2003]: The requested information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case records. The latest published figures (Asylum Statistics 2001) show estimates of between 13 per cent. in 1998 and 14 per cent. in 2001 of principal applicants had one or more dependants.
Information on asylum applications is published quarterly. The next publication will be available at the end of February 2004 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
Beverley Hughes: It is a fundamental legal duty of local education authorities to ensure that education is available for all children of compulsory school age in their area appropriate to age, abilities and aptitudes and any special education needs they may have. This duty applies irrespective of a child's immigration status or rights of residence in a particular location. Children of failed asylum seekers are therefore entitled to attend school for as long as the family remain in the UK.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what use has been made by chief officers of police of accreditations under community safety accreditation schemes under section 41 of the Police Reform Act 2002. 
Ms Blears: In total, six forces have used powers under section 41 of the Police Reform Act. Five forces have accredited 16 Vehicle Inspectors employed by the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA). The inspectors have been issued with the power to stop vehicles for the purpose of testing. This allows them to test vehicles without police assistance and so frees police officers to focus on other tasks. The five forces are Cambridgeshire, Greater Manchester, Northumbria, North Wales and Staffordshire.
In addition, Hampshire Police have accredited five employees of Southampton City Council, to enable them to be more effective in dealing with anti-social behaviour. Hampshire police received £20,000 central funding from the Home Office to help with the project costs of setting the scheme up.
The Home Office has allocated a total of £450,000 funding to 21 pathfinder forces (including Hampshire) in this financial year to assist them with setting up community safety accreditation schemes. The funded schemes will accredit those already conducting patrols in communities to enhance the reassurance that these staff provide and make them more effective in dealing with anti-social behaviour. Forces involved in the first tranche of schemes in this first phase of accreditation are mainly intending to accredit wardens employed in or by local authorities.
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