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28 Jun 2004 : Column 14W—continued

Early-day Motions

Mr. Steen: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission what the cost of printing and administering early-day motions was in each of the last three parliamentary sessions. [180382]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: House of Commons printing and publishing charges are calculated in arrears by financial year and are therefore available only in this form. Figures covering the costs of early day motions, to the nearest £1,000, and for the four financial years completed under the present contractual arrangements, are given in the following table:
Financial year£
2000–01443,000
2001–02338,000
2002–03516,000
2003–04573,000

Other costs associated with administering early day motions, such as editorial preparation and control, and electronic publishing, are not separately identifiable.

Environmental Policy

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to his answer of 18 May 2004, Official Report, column 850W, who has responsibility for delivering improved environmental practice on the Parliamentary Estate. [180632]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: The Director of Estates is responsible for delivering improved environmental practice on the Parliamentary Estate, as recommended in a report by the consultants Urban Mines. This report will be placed in the Library in the next few days.
 
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HOME DEPARTMENT

Active Communities Challenge

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many businesses he estimates have allowed employees at least one day off for voluntary action in the local community as a result of the Active Communities Challenge launched by the Prime Minister in March 2000. [179583]

Fiona Mactaggart: Detailed information on the number of employers offering their employees one day off for voluntary action is not held centrally and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

Airwave Scheme

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what he estimates the (a) cost of implementing and (b) number of masts in implementing the Airwave scheme nationwide will be. [179738]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 21 June 2004]: The information is as follows:

(a) The Airwave service contract includes all police forces in England, Wales and Scotland. Payments for each police force start from the date when the service becomes available. When the rollout is complete, it is estimated that the total annual cost of the core national service will be £156 million.

(b) The total number of masts will be of the order of 3,300. Over 3,000 of these masts are already in place.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Airwave has video technology; and whether it is utilised by police forces. [179739]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 21 June 2004]: Airwave can carry data signals as well as voice signals and can in principle transmit video pictures. No video applications have yet been developed for Airwave.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Airwave; and whether the scheme is on course to deliver the technology promised at its conception. [179740]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 21 June 2004]: Airwave is a successful programme that is on course to deliver the technology promised at its conception. It has already delivered modern voice communications to over 50,000 police users and provided them with high quality and secure digital communications and improved capacity and coverage. Some of the functionality will only be available when the national network has been fully rolled out and software upgrades have been implemented.

Asylum Seekers

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 17 May 2004, Official Report, column 760W, on asylum detainees (children), if he will break down the figures by removal centre. [176791]


 
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Mr. Browne: The latest available information on the number of minors detained solely under Immigration Act powers is for 27 March 2004 and shows that 30 minors were detained at that date. A breakdown of the number detained in each removal centre is not available. Providing such a breakdown is contrary to National Statistics principles and protocols on confidentiality given the small numbers involved.

Families with children may be detained at Tinsley House, Dungavel and Oakington Reception Centre.

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the reasons for the recent change in the proportion of asylum seekers who claim asylum in this country. [179928]

Mr. Browne: A number of measures have been introduced recently to tackle the abuse of our asylum and immigration system while maintaining the protection given to genuine refugees. For example, we have introduced measures to ensure the integrity of our borders, tackle fraud, people trafficking and illegal working, restrict support for late applicants, and to remove in-country appeal rights for those making clearly unfounded claims. The Government consider that this package of measures has resulted in the fall in asylum intake since the peak of October 2002.

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of asylum seekers who were denied access to asylum support under section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 in the first quarter of 2004. [179932]

Mr. Browne: Section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 came into force on 8 January 2003, restricting the availability of National Asylum Support Service (NASS) support to those asylum seekers who make an asylum application as soon as reasonably practicable. From 17 December 2003 my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced that those who could give a credible account that their asylum claim was made within three days of arrival in the United Kingdom will normally be accepted as having applied as soon as reasonably practicable.

The eligibility for support under section 55 was considered by NASS for a total of 2,650 cases in the first quarter of 2004 (January to March 2004). The number of asylum seekers, excluding dependants, notified that they were ineligible for NASS support under section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 in the first quarter of 2004 was 890. Some applicants notified that they are ineligible for support under section 55 apply nevertheless and these are shown in the published statistics within the 'Invalid' support type category.

Information on the number of asylum seekers supported by NASS is published in the quarterly web pages and in the annual statistical bulletin, "Asylum Statistics United Kingdom", available from the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html
 
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Bristol Airport (Policing)

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the budgeted cost to be borne by Avon and Somerset Constabulary for policing Bristol Airport in 2004–05 is; and what the direct contribution to be made by the Home Office as security expenditure is. [179313]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 18 June 2004]: Avon and Somerset Police receives additional funding from a number of different funding streams for the purposes of policing at Bristol Airport. For security reasons it would not be appropriate to comment on specific levels of funding.

Cannabis

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans there are to conduct further research into the link between cannabis smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. [179330]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I have been asked to reply.

The main agency through which the Government supports medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body which receives its grant-in-aid from the Office of Science and Technology, part of the Department of Trade and Industry.
 
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The MRC does not normally commission research, but always welcomes high quality applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are judged in open competition with other demands on funding. Awards are made according to their scientific quality and importance to health.

The MRC funds research into a wide range of diseases related to smoking. These include cancer, respiratory disorders, cardiovascular and circulatory disorders. The Council is not currently funding research on cannabis smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


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