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3 Feb 2004 : Column 790Wcontinued
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what unplanned expenditure has been incurred in each financial year by (a) his Department and (b) the Criminal Records Bureau since the commencement of the Criminal Records Project. 
Ms Blears: The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) is an executive agency of the Home Office. The CRB's Corporate and Business Plans for 200207 projected planned expenditure of £167.7 million up to 30 September 2003. Actual expenditure for the period was £123.9 million. In addition, £1.26 million was spent in the first financial year of the project, financial year 19992000. Planned and actual expenditure can be broken down by financial year as follows.
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|Financial year||Gross spend||Fee income||Operating deficit||Gross spend||Fee income||Operating deficit|
|¾ (to 30 September 2003)||42.30||38.60||(3.70)||33.80||17.10||(16.70)|
The Home Office and other departments have contributed towards meeting deficits.
Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether the Criminal Records Bureau is meeting its targets for processing applications for taxi driver licences; 
(3) how many applications for taxi driver licences are (a) awaiting processing and (b) being processed by the Criminal Records Bureau. 
Ms Blears: I am unable to answer my hon. Friend's question about the percentage of applications for taxi-driver licences processed by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) within target times because the CRB does not hold information in that format. However, overall, the CRB has been consistently meeting its targets for processing Disclosure applications since June 2003. The following table illustrates the current position.
|Service performance||December||Year to date|
|90 per cent. of Standard Disclosures issued within two weeks||Exceeded||93 per cent.|
|90 per cent. of Enhanced Disclosures issued within four weeks||Exceeded||92.9 per cent.|
|90 per cent. of calls answered within 20 seconds||Exceeded||89.6 per cent.|
|5 per cent. of applications over six weeks old||Exceeded||n/a|
To the CRB, applications awaiting processing are those where an applicant has asked for a form to be sent out and the form has not been returned to the CRB. Applications being processed are those that have been fully and correctly completed by the customer and returned to the CRB. No disclosure applications for taxi drivers or anyone else are withheld from going on to the CRB computer system; all are immediately processed upon receipt.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many EU member states have adopted the recent proposals for a European Arrest Warrant; and how many have indicated that they will adopt it in due course. 
Caroline Flint: Eight EU member states are now operating the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). They are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
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The remaining member states are in the process of implementing the EAW into their domestic legislation.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what records are kept on extraditions to EU countries from the UK. 
Caroline Flint: Since the commencement of the Extradition Act 2003 on 1 January 2004, the National Criminal Intelligence Service has maintained an electronic record of extradition requests to the UK from those EU countries which have implemented the European Arrest Warrant, while the Home Office has maintained an electronic record of extradition requests from other EU countries. Prior to 1 January this year, the Home Office maintained an electronic record of such requests from all EU countries going back to 1997; and there are earlier paper records.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which local initiatives have benefited from the Home Office Challenge Fund; and how much each local initiative has received. 
Fiona Mactaggart: In 200304 almost £2 million will have been allocated to 43 projects, both new recipients and existing ones, throughout the United Kingdom. These projects cover a range of innovative local schemes to help refugees play a full and active role in their new communities, for example through assisting access to the job market, acquisition of employable skills, English language tuition, and supporting families through education and training.
More information on all the selected projects is available on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate Home Office website.
|East of England|
|East of England Consortium||47,300|
|East London Somali Association||43,585|
|Evelyn Oldfield Unit||31,500|
|Refugees Into Jobs||93,297|
|Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund||40,000|
|Ethiopian Community Centre in the UK||27,917|
|South London Tamil Welfare Group||25,750|
|The Presswise Trust||90,640|
|FOREF (Friends of Refugees Forum)||12,950|
|Sierra Leone Refugee|
|Holy Cross Centre Trust||31,500|
|Council for Assisting Refugee|
|Newcastle City Council||31,800|
|Mental Health Matters||62,000|
|Stockton District Advice and Information Service||12,588|
|North West Consortium||63,189|
|Toxteth Community College||44,954|
|Liverpool Family Service Unit||64,714|
|North West Consortium||14,041|
|British Red Cross (running two projects)||88,000|
|Scottish Refugee Council||19,489|
|Glasgow ESOL Forum||35,506|
|Thanet Early Years Project||14,404|
|Kent Refugee Action Network||39,140|
|Community Self Build Agency||33,000|
|Women's Business Development Agency||50,000|
|Cardiff City Council||51,272|
|Wolverhampton Refugee Settlement and Integration||67,364|
|Midland Refugee Council||56,650|
|Yorkshire and Humberside|
|Yemeni Economic and Training||50,000|
|Yorkshire and Humberside Consortium||46,014|
3 Feb 2004 : Column 793W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Home Office Challenge Fund will continue indefinitely; what funding will be made available in each of the next five years; and what criteria are used in allocating funding from the Challenge Fund. 
Fiona Mactaggart: The Challenge Fund was introduced in 2001 to support local projects helping those who have fled persecution and been granted asylum in the UK to integrate into their new communities. Initially a three-year scheme, the Home Office announced in December 2003 that it planned to continue the Challenge Fund for the foreseeable future.
The availability and amount of funding over the next five years is dependent on future Spending Reviews and on evidence of how beneficial the funding stream has
3 Feb 2004 : Column 794W
been to support the integration of refugees. It is currently expected that £3 million will be made available for both 200405 and 200506.
When allocating funding, consideration is given to the relevance of the project to the Home Office integration strategy, outlined in "Full and Equal Citizens", to its cost-effectiveness, and to the expertise and reliability of the applicant and any partner, organisations; applications must, of course, be focused on refugees and those granted Humanitarian or Discretionary Leave. Projects are subjected to a programme of monitoring and evaluation in order to identify those projects that are most effective in helping to integrate refugees.
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