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26 Feb 2004 : Column 518Wcontinued
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to his answer of 9 February 2004, Official Report, columns 113536W, on the Strategy Unit Fisheries report, what the reasons are for the delay in the publication of this report. 
Mr. Hoon: The Department has carried out a comprehensive analysis of Operation TELIC and presented its findings in reports published in June and December last year. The availability of Enhanced Combat Body Armour (ECBA) was discussed in these reports. However, in the light of lessons identified during Operation TELIC, policy on the issuing of ECBA to troops on operations is now under review.
The UK anticipates that multilateral nuclear weapons decommissioning would take place within that context. Negotiations to implement Article VI have not yet commenced and are not scheduled. The way forward agreed by NPT States Parties at the 2000 NPT review conference is set out in the final document produced by that conference. The UK has made considerable progress on measures contained in the final document and will play a full role in the third session of the NPT Preparatory Committee in April this year.
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Beverley Hughes: Information on the number of people detained pending removal from the United Kingdom and on the total number of detainees held under the Immigration Act during 2003 is not available and could be obtained only by examination of individual case-files at disproportionate cost.
26 Feb 2004 : Column 520W
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applications the UK has received for each of the last five years; and what the comparable figures are for each country in the European Union. 
(2) Figures rounded to the nearest 100.
(3) Provisional figures.
(4) Revised figures.
(5) Figures based on IGC data but adjusted to include an estimated number of dependants.
(6) Figures based on UNHCR data, including dependants.
(7) UNHCR data.
(8) Signed up to the Schengen agreement but not operating its provisions.
(9) Figures have been adjusted to include an estimated number of dependants
between 1998 and 2001. 2002 and 2003 figures based on actual data.
Annual data on asylum applications to EU member states are published in quarterly web pages and in the Home Office annual statistical bulletin Asylum Statistics United Kingdom, copies of which are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his forecasts are for asylum applications for each of the next five years; and what the comparable figures are for each EU member state. 
Beverley Hughes: We have already reduced the monthly intake of asylum applications by half since October 2002. Current policy initiatives, such as juxtaposed controls in France and the deployment of detection technology at continental ports, are designed to prevent those who seek to circumvent our controls at specific ports of entry from doing so. The Government are confident that this and further measures will continue to reduce misuse of the asylum system and the numbers of unfounded asylum claims. The measures we introduced in the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 and the subsequent robust measures to ensure the integrity of our borders are testament to that.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) financial and (b) other support services are available to an asylum seeker aged between 16 and 18-years-old who is in the UK without family. 
Beverley Hughes: Services for unaccompanied asylum seeking children aged between 16 and 18-years-old are the responsibility of local authority social services departments. Their needs are assessed and support services provided accordingly in ways that are the equivalent of any other child in need. In all but a very few cases the local authority will make all necessary financial provision for them. In the few cases, for example, where leave to remain has been granted and their individual social services pathway plan permits, they may access benefits as part of an overall range of provision.
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Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many unaccompanied children he estimates arrived in the United Kingdom in each of the last five years from outside the EU. 
Beverley Hughes: I regret that reliable information on the entry routes of unaccompanied children to the UK is not available. The available information which relates to the number of asylum applications made by unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the last five years is given in the table.
|Number of principal applicants|
|2003(12) , (13)||2,800||555||2,245|
(10) Figures rounded to nearest five. Unaccompanied at point of arrival, aged (or if no proof) determined to be 17 or under and not known to be joining a relative or guardian in the UK. Figures exclude disputed age cases.
(11) May exclude some cases lodged at Local Enforcement Offices.
(12) Not comparable with manual counts data prior to 2002.
(13) Provisional figures.
Information on the number of asylum applications from unaccompanied children is published in quarterly web pages and in the annual statistical bulletin Asylum Statistics United Kingdom. Copies of these publications and others relating to general immigration to the UK are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html
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