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21 Jan 2004 : Column 1261W—continued

Places of Worship/Historic Buildings

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will make a statement on the implementation of existing VAT Directives relating to the care of listed places of worship; [149491]

John Healey: In accordance with the rules laid down in the EC Sixth VAT Directive, the repair and maintenance of listed places of worship, and of all other buildings, is standard-rated for VAT purposes.

We have been negotiating hard with our European Partners to extend the categories of permitted reduced VAT rates to include the repair and maintenance of listed places of worship. Although at this time the future of these negotiations is uncertain, it remains one of the Government's objectives to achieve such a reduced rate.

In the meantime we continue to provide support through the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, which provides an equivalent reduction in the cost of these repair projects. In his Pre-Budget Report the Chancellor announced that funding for the grant scheme is in place for a further two years, until the end of March 2006.

As well as the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, the Government provides a range of fiscal incentives to support the maintenance of historic buildings, including exemption from inheritance tax for heritage maintenance funds. The Government keeps all taxes under review and any changes are considered by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of the annual Budget process.

Public Expenditure (Allocation within UK)

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the figures listed in Table 8.6b and 8.13b of the Corrigendum to Chapter 8 of the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2003, what assessment he has made of the per capita cost of providing a parity of service provision in each region and nation of the United Kingdom with a view to determining which region/nation is receiving (a) more, (b) less and (c) the correct level of funding in each service programme. [149455]

Mr. Boateng: Spending by the devolved administrations is determined by the principles set out in the Statement of Funding Policy published by the Treasury in July 2002. Spending by region is determined by departments; there is no single allocation formula. Spending is determined according to the circumstances of the particular spending programme.

Scottish Executive

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes he plans to make to determinants of the grant, other than the Barnett Formula, paid to the Scottish Executive in 2004. [149633]

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Mr. Boateng: The Government's spending plans for 2004–05 were published in the 2002 Spending Review White Paper (Cm 5570). The grant to the Scottish Consolidated Fund for 2004–05 will be published in the Scotland Office chapter of the Department for Constitutional Affairs 2004–05 Departmental Report.

Sports Clubs

Mr. Reed: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many community and amateur sports clubs are registered for tax relief; [149366]

John Healey: It is estimated that between 30,000 and 40,000 clubs might be eligible to apply for registration as a community amateur sports club (CASC). As at 16 January 2004, 587 CASCs had been registered. A list of registered clubs is published on the Inland Revenue website, and is updated on a monthly basis.

In the Pre-Budget Report (Cm 6042) the Chancellor announced the Government's intention to double the Corporation Tax thresholds below which registered CASCs are exempt from tax. This will mean that clubs with a trading turnover of less than £30,000 and gross property income of less than £20,000 will pay no Corporation Tax. The measure will be introduced in the next Finance Bill.

Clubs registered in England and Wales will also receive mandatory rates relief of 80 per cent. with effect from 1 April 2004. Local authorities can increase this relief to 100 per cent. at their own discretion. These measures will help clubs raise funds to improve facilities for participating in sport, by reducing the burden placed upon them.

The Inland Revenue, in partnership with the Central Council of Physical Recreation; Bates, Wells & Braithwaite; Deloitte & Touche and others, held a series of regional seminars in 2003 to promote the CASC scheme. The Inland Revenue continues to work closely with representative bodies to encourage awareness of the scheme among their members.

The Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport also wrote to all Members of Parliament, including my hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Mr. Reed), in December, encouraging them to promote the scheme to amateur sports clubs in their constituencies.

Telephone Charges

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was derived in 2002–03 by Government Departments and agencies from use of the 0870 telephone number which charges callers. [149599]

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Mr. Boateng: Information about the use of 0870 services by Government Departments and agencies is not held centrally.

Thames Gateway Bridge

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Thames Gateway Bridge will be included in the comparator expenditure for the purposes of allocations under the Barnett Formula; and how much additional money will go to the devolved administrations as a result. [149643]

Mr. Boateng: Comparability factors for the purpose of allocations under the Barnett formula are published in Annex C of the Statement of Funding Policy. The latest version was published by the Treasury in July 2002. Comparability factors are updated in each Spending Review. Under the Barnett formula the devolved administrations receive a population share of comparable aggregate increases in departmental spending.

Tourism (VAT)

Mr. Moss: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to amend the VAT rate on tourism services, with particular reference to tourist accommodation. [149225]

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John Healey: The Chancellor keeps all tax matters under constant review, and I refer the hon gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd) on 12 June 2003, Official Report, column 823W.

Trade Union Recognition Ballots

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what types of expenses accrued by a company campaigning against a trade union recognition ballot would be (a) tax deductible and (b) able to be offset against other tax liabilities; what the total amount of tax not paid in respect of such expenses has been in each of the last five years; and what plans he has to change the tax rules applying to such expenses. [149577]

Dawn Primarolo:


We have no centrally available information on this matter.

Tax policy is kept under continuous review and any changes are announced by the Chancellor, usually at the time of the Budget.

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HOME DEPARTMENT

Asylum Seekers

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many induction centres for asylum seekers there are in the UK; and how many asylum seekers have been processed by induction centres since they opened. [147861]

Beverley Hughes: There are currently two induction centres open in the UK: Dover Induction Centre which opened in January 2002 and Yorkshire and Humberside which opened in June 2003. These two induction centres have processed about 26,700 asylum applicants collectively.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many induction centres for asylum seekers the Government plans to open; when they will open; and where. [147862]

Beverley Hughes: The Government plans to establish a network of induction centres in London and the regions during 2004. Negotiations with potential providers for further induction centres are ongoing so the exact locations and final number cannot be confirmed at this time. The final number will depend on the number of bedspaces each potential provider can deliver and capacity required will change to reflect changes in asylum intake. It is expected however that the network will consist of about eight induction centres.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers he expects will be processed by each induction centre; and what the expected cost is of each centre. [147863]

Beverley Hughes: When the national network of induction centres has been established it is expected that all asylum applicants will be processed through an induction centre, with the exception of detainees and those under Social Services care, for whom induction services will be tailored and delivered differently. Negotiations with potential providers are still ongoing and therefore information on the cost of each centre is not yet available. The number of asylum seekers processed by each centre depends on the number of bedspaces each centre can deliver and on asylum intake and dispersal rates.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of asylum seekers reached the UK in 2003 (a) as a result of illegal people-smuggling operations conducted by criminal gangs and (b) because they held false documentation. [148042]

Beverley Hughes: The nature of illegal entry is such that it is impossible to quantify. Illegal entrants are detected in a wide range of circumstances and time frames, from discovery in the back of a lorry on, or shortly after, arrival, to discovery much later, when found working. Although many of those discovered will

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claim asylum, no figures are kept centrally to differentiate between asylum seekers who arrive illegally, asylum seekers who arrive illegally as a result of criminal action, and illegal entrants generally.

The Government established the multi-agency Reflex strategy to tackle the criminality behind people smuggling, and will continue to support this strategy in tandem with increasingly effective border control measures, which saw a 52 per cent. reduction in the number of asylum seekers arriving in the UK in the 12 months from October 2002.

It is also not possible to quantify, except at disproportionate cost, the number of asylum seekers who reach the UK because they hold false documentation, although it is reasonable to conclude that many who do so arrive will claim asylum.

In the 12 months ending 30 September 2003, 8,446 false documents were detected at UK ports of entry.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence he has collated of links between the change in the number of asylum seekers and people traffickers. [148043]

Beverley Hughes: Government action led to a 52 per cent. reduction in the number of asylum seekers arriving in the UK in the 12 months from October 2002. Incidences of human trafficking to the UK remain low, although the vast majority of those entering the UK illegally do so with the assistance of people smugglers (or facilitators). Figures for the prosecutions of facilitators do not differentiate between asylum seekers who enter illegally, and other illegal entrants. There is no clear statistical trend in the number of facilitators prosecuted at the major ports of Dover and Heathrow.

Siobhain McDonagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applications the UK received from citizens of Sri Lanka in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002 and (d) 2003. [148420]

Beverley Hughes: There were 6,395, 5,510 and 3,130 asylum applications (principal applicants) from nationals of Sri Lanka in 2000, 2001 and 2002 respectively and 630 asylum applications (principal applicants) from January to September 2003.

Information on asylum applications is published quarterly. The next publication, including provisional data for October to December 2003 and totals for 2003, will be available on the 24 February 2004 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.

Siobhain McDonagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applications have been received from citizens of Sri Lanka since it was included in the list of designated countries on 17 July 2003; how many of these applications (a) have been accepted, (b) have been refused, (c) are still

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pending, (d) have led to non-suspensive appeals, (e) have resulted in successful non-suspensive appeals and (f) have resulted in judicial review. [148421]

Beverley Hughes: Asylum applications are published for annual, quarterly, and monthly periods. The following table shows the number of asylum applications (principal applicants) from nationals of Sri Lanka from January to September 2003, the latest date for which figures are available.

Asylum applications(1) received in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, 2003 by month, nationals of Sri Lanka

Applications
January120
February80
March100
April70
May95
June75
July30
August30
September30
Total to date630

(1) Provisional figures rounded to nearest five


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Information on how many of these applications have been accepted, refused, are still pending, have led to non-suspensive appeals or have resulted in judicial review could be obtained only by examination of individual case records at disproportionate cost.

The following table provides information on the outcomes of initial decisions relating to Sri Lankan nationals, from January to September 2003, the latest date for which figures are available. Initial decisions made in any given month may relate to applications made in previous months.

Initial decisions on asylum applications(2),(3)received in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, nationals of Sri Lanka, 2003 by month

Decisions
TotaldecisionsGrants ofasylum Grants of exceptional leave to remainGrants of humanitarian protectionGrants of discretionary leaveTotalrefusals(4),(5)
January155520n/an/a130
February180*20n/an/a160
March250520n/an/a225
April185*n/a10175
May140n/a5135
June1555n/a10140
July 100*n/a595
August60*n/a555
September455n/a540
Total to date1,2652055351,155

(2) Provisional figures rounded to nearest five, with '*' = 1 or 2.

(3) Information is of initial determination decisions, excluding the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions.

(4) Refused on the grounds that the applicant had arrived from a safe third country.

(5) May include some refusals under non compliance grounds,

n/a = not applicable


The following table provides information on the outcomes ofappeals at the IAA relating to Sri Lankan nationals, in January to September 2003, the latest date for which figures are available. Not all refusals result in appeals and appeal determinations made in any given month may relate to initial decisions made in previous months.

Outcome of Appeals(6),(7)determined by adjudicators of the Immigration Appellate Authority, excluding dependants, nationals of Sri Lanka, 2003, by month
Number of principal appellants

Appeals determined by adjudicators(7)
AllowedDismissedWithdrawn
TotalTotalAs percentage of DeterminedTotalAs percentage of DeterminedTotalAs percentage of Determined
January62555956089102
February53545847589153
March600651152587102
April545801445583153
May505851740580204
June480751639582102
July505701442083153
August490501043588102
September41055143508551
Total to date4,710580124,015851102

(6) Provisional figures rounded to nearest five (except percentages), with '*' = 1 or 2. Figures may not add up due to independent rounding.

(7) Figures include cases withdrawn by the Home Office, as well as the appellant.


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Siobhain McDonagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applicants who are citizens of Sri Lanka were given permission to stay in the UK in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002 and (d) 2003; and how many applications were refused in each of these years. [148422]

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Beverley Hughes: The following table shows the available data, for outcomes of initial decisions relating to asylum applications (principal applicants) for nationals of Sri Lanka in 2000, 2001, 2002 and from January to September 2003. Grants of exceptional leave to remain and of discretionary leave may be followed by review of individuals' cases and do not necessarily result in permanent settlement.

Initial decisions on asylum applications(8),(9) received in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, by year—nationals of Sri Lanka—principal applicants

Decisions20002001(10)2002(11)2003(11),(12)
Total decisions9,05010,3504,2851,265
Grants of asylum9001,44034020
Grants of exceptional leave to remain28554027555
Grants of humanitarian protection(13)(13)(13)
Grants of discretionary leave(13)(13)(13)35
Total refusals(14)6,8758,3703,6701,155
Grants of exceptional leave to remain under backlog criteria(15),(16)895(13)(13)(13)
Non compliance refusals under backlog criteria(15),(17)100(13)(13)(13)

(8) Provisional figures rounded to nearest 5.

(9) Information is of initial determination decisions, excluding the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions.

(10) Revised figures

(11) Provisional figures

(12) January to September

(13) Not applicable

(14) May include some refusals under non compliance grounds.

(15) Cases decided under pragmatic measures aimed at reducing the pre 1996 asylum backlog.

(16) May include a small number of cases where asylum has been granted.

(17) May include a small number of cases where the application has been refused on substantive grounds.


The following table shows the available data, for outcomes of appeals relating to refused asylum applications (principal applicants) for nationals of Sri Lanka in 2000, 2001, 2002 and from January to September 2003. Allowed appeals may result in grants of asylum, grants of humanitarian protection or grants of discretionary leave, or in appeals to the IAT by the Secretary of State, and do not necessarily result in permanent settlement.

Outcome of appeals(18),(19) determined by adjudicators of the Immigration Appellate Authority, excluding dependants—nationals of Sri Lanka—2001 to September 2003
Number of principal appellants

20012002Total to September 2003
Appeals determined by adjudicators
Total290 5254,710
Allowed
Total105 145580
As percentage of determined36 2812
Dismissed
Total180 3704,015
As percentage of determined62 7085
Withdrawn
Total5 10110
As percentage of determined222

(18) Provisional figures rounded to nearest 5 (except percentages). Figures may not add up due to independent rounding.

(19) Figures include cases withdrawn by the Home Office, as well as the appellant.


Information on asylum applications and decisions is published quarterly. The next publication will be available on 24 February 2004 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate web site at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) men and (b) women were held in prisons in England and Wales owing to no final decision having been reached on their right to remain in the United Kingdom as political or religious asylum seekers on 1 January 2003. [148608]

Beverley Hughes: Detention under the Immigration Acts may normally be appropriate while a person's identity and basis of claim is established, where there are reasonable grounds for believing that a person will fail to comply with the terms of temporary admission or release, or to effect removal. In addition, individuals whose asylum claims appear to be capable of being decided quickly may be detained as part of a fast-track asylum process. The majority of those detained for these reasons are held in Immigration Service removal centres. In a small number of individual cases it is necessary for reasons of security and control to hold detained persons in prison accommodation. The immigration or asylum cases of such individuals may be at various stages. Information on case status is not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case records.

As at 27 September 2003 (the latest date for which information is available) there were 100 persons detained in prisons in England and Wales solely under the Immigration Act, who had claimed asylum at some stage.

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Information on the number of asylum applicants detained solely under the Immigration Act is published quarterly on the Home Office website: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html. Data for those detained at the end of December 2003 will be published on 24 February.


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