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Mr. Browne [holding answer 25 November 2004]: The United Kingdom, together with Ireland and Denmark chose not to opt into EC Directive 2004/81. This decision was subject of a cross Whitehall review following the adoption of the directive in April 2004. A further review is planned once reliable data on the effects of the directive become available.
Mr. Browne [holding answer 29 November 2004]: This information is not recorded and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, under the new HM Forces policy any application for settlement received from a Gurkha who was discharged from the British Army before 1 July 1997 will be given sympathetic consideration as outlined in my letter to the right hon. Member dated 18 October.
[holding answer 2 December 2004]: A Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) for the Identity Cards Bill was published on 29 November. The RIA set out a cost-benefit analysis of the scheme. The benefits described in the RIA fall into the following categories: more efficient processes, removing duplication of functions, reduced fraud, more convenient access to services, improved enforcement of immigration controls, enhanced ability to counter terrorism and
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organised crime, reduced fear of crime and ensuring that the UK can continue to benefit from free movement between nations.
(2) if he will publish the cost estimates for identity card readers which have been included in the work with stakeholders on benefits cited on page 25 of his Department's response to the Home Affairs Committee's Fourth Report of 200304. 
Mr. Browne: Paragraph 23 of the Regulatory Impact Assessment, published alongside the Identity Cards Bill, sets out that the current working assumption is that the cost of card readers would fall within a range of £250-£750, depending on their level of sophistication and performance.
The ability of the reader to check a biometric as well as the card in high risk, high value transactions would put the range of costs for these type of readers towards the higher end of £250-£750 range. Integrated with other security and verification requirements, this cost could fall substantially over the years ahead.
Mr. Browne: The extent of identity fraud costs is included in section 24(iii) of the regulatory impact assessment which was published when the Identity Cards Bill was introduced on 29 November. It states that:
Officials have worked closely with the security and intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies in drawing up this assessment. At least one third of terrorist suspects are known to have used more than one identity either for facilitation or planning the commission of terrorist acts.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the employers and other interested groups being consulted about the design of the identity cards verification service. 
Home Office officials have had high level discussions relating to verification design with various employer organisations including the Confederation of
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British Industry, the Inland Revenue payroll group/the Small Business Service and other representative trade bodies in the financial services and transport sectors. Home Office officials are also working with private sector organisations to assess the demand for a user group of private sector organisations which will provide co-ordinated input to the design and development of the verification service.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the annual £85 million cost of the identity cards scheme announced on 2 November includes the cost of adding visual verification features to the face of the card; and what visual verification options are under consideration. 
However, in General Group there were 53 issued from April 2001 to March 2002; 335 issued from April 2002 to March 2003; 469 issued from April 2003 to March 2004; and 162 issued from April 2004 to September 2004. This should be balanced against the number of decisions made in the same period which were 380,000 (0.01 per cent.); 403,000 (0.08 per cent.); 534,000 (0.08 per cent.); and 250,000 (0.06 per cent.) respectively.
Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been stopped from entering the UK by British customs officials working at the Eurostar rail terminus at the Gare du Nord, Paris, in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Browne: The statistics requested are not available at this point due to operational changes that have recently occurred at Waterloo, the office that previously handled Paris statistics. Once my officials have completed their reconciliation work I will write to you to advise you of the numbers.
Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in which European Union member states British immigration officers inspect the passports of passengers seeking to travel to the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
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