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24 Jan 2005 : Column 133W—continued


Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his Department's policy is on enabling children who have been orphaned as a result of the tsunami disaster from Sri Lanka and India to be allowed to join close relatives who now live in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [208726]

Mr. Browne: The immigration rules already contain provision allowing relatives who are settled in the United Kingdom to sponsor the entry of a child where there are serious and compelling considerations and suitable arrangements have been made for the child's care. In the case of children affected by the tsunami, such care will have to take account of the special needs of these children.

Recently, some countries affected by the tsunami have imposed restrictions upon the travel and adoption of children from the disaster areas, in part as a result of recent accounts of traffickers seeking to exploit vulnerable children there. Our decisions must take account of these restrictions and in view of the dangers presented by traffickers, our investigation of the full circumstances of individual cases will be as thorough as ever. However, my hon. Friend may be assured that a sympathetic approach will be taken in such cases.

UN Convention on Migrant Workers

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the changes to UK law which would be required for
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ratification of the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families. [207707]

Mr. Browne: Ratifying the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families would require a number of changes to UK legislation. The Convention would give migrants the same access to public funds and services as British citizens, regardless of their length of stay in the UK. Changes would be required to enable these migrant workers to access benefits, housing, education and social services.

Overseas nationals who are granted settlement in the UK are entitled to claim income-related benefits and non-contributory benefits and to access social housing in the same way as a British citizen. Individuals coming to the UK for employment have to support themselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds. However, state school education and treatment under the NHS do not qualify as public funds under the Immigration Rules. So migrant workers without settlement do have access to state education services and, as long as they remain in employment, NHS services. We believe that to extend this access to all benefits before these workers are settled in the UK would act as an unnecessary "pull factor" and undermine immigration controls.

We have no plans to ratify the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. The rights of migrant workers are already protected in UK law, including under the Human Rights Act 1998 and we believe we have struck the right balance between the need for immigration control and the protection of the interests and rights of migrant workers.

Violent Incidents (Prisons)

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many violent incidents were reported in each institution within the secure estate in the most recent year for which records are available. [208118]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 17 January 2005]: There are a range of incidents that might be classified as violent. HM Prison Service defines violence as

The tables which include centrally collected data about the most serious incidents in prisons, remand centres, juvenile and young offender institutions and secure training units, during the financial year 2003–04, have been placed in the Library. No central records are kept of violent incidents in immigration removal centres or local authority secure children's homes.

Wrongful Conviction (Compensation)

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the criteria are for the award of (a) compensation and (b) ex gratia payments in cases of wrongful conviction and imprisonment; and if he will make a statement. [208514]

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Paul Goggins: The criteria for the statutory scheme for compensation for wrongful conviction are set out within the provisions of section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. The criteria for the ex gratia scheme are set out in the then Home Secretary's statement to the House of Commons on 29 November 1985, Official Report, columns 691–92.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 8 December 2004, Official Report, column 650W, on xenotransplantation, what steps he took to ascertain that all of the animals were cynomolgous macaques; and what time period the information relates to. [207045]

Caroline Flint: The information was drawn from material prepared by the Home Office Chief Inspector during his review of compliance with the licence authorities granted to Imutran Ltd. staff for their xenotransplantation research. It relates to studies carried out in each of the years 1995 to 1999.


Departmental Expenditure

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much the Department spent on lawyers in each year since 1997, broken down by (a) number of actions, (b) number of settlements, (c) number of court cases and (d) the costs of each settlement. [206464]

Mr. Miliband: Information is not held centrally in the form requested.

The information available on the costs of litigation (including inquiries) is shown in the table.
Cases(54)HoursCost (£)

(54) Number of cases handled by Treasury Solicitor in year including cases carried forward from previous year.
Treasury Solicitor

Disbursements are the costs caused by representation by barristers and outside solicitors. Disbursements were increased in 2003–04 due to the Hutton Inquiry.

The number of cases and costs increased in 1999–2000 due to the BSE Inquiry and legal challenge to the House of Lords Bill.

Departmental Website

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when the searchable database of all Government (a) non-departmental public bodies and (b) independent regulators will be available on his Department's website. [210294]

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Mr. Miliband: 'Public Bodies 2004' will be published for the first time as a searchable database. We anticipate that the new searchable database containing information about non-departmental public bodies will be launched in the first quarter of this year, and I will announce its availability to the House.

The issue of identifying which public bodies sponsored by central Government Departments should be classified as independent regulators has been included in the review of the variety and complexity of public bodies being carried out at present in response to a recommendation of the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC). The Government indicated this in their response to the Better Regulation Task Force report "Independent Regulators" which my predecessor announced in a written ministerial statement on 9 February 2004, Official Report, column 61WS. This indicated that such bodies would not be identified separately when the database is first launched with 2004 data. That remains the case. The report of the review for PASC is due to be published soon and will comment further on this point.

Ministerial Residences

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the (a) capital and (b) notional open market rental value is of each official residence available to Ministers. [210419]

Mr. Miliband: Admiralty House contains residential accommodation for three Ministers. No Cabinet Office Ministers are currently accommodated in official residencies.

The capital value of the three flats, if extracted from the overall capital value of Admiralty House, is £7 million. The term "Open Market Rental Value" is no longer recognised by the Appraisal and Valuation Standards but is now defined as "Market Rent". The notional market rent for all the three flats is £21,900-£25,500 per calendar month (each flat is estimated to be in the region of £7,300-£8,500 per calendar month).

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