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New Charter is providing services for homeless people as agents for Tameside Council, who are responsible for monitoring the contract. I understand that the Council is satisfied that all the main aspects of the service specification are being achieved.
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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from (a) registered social landlords and (b) those who fund them for greater freedom to raise rents. 
Keith Hill: In response to its three-year review of rent restructuring the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister received a number of representations from registered social landlords and others such as the National Housing Federation. A summary of responses will be made available shortly.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many tenants in each local authority area have exercised their right to buy in each of the last three years; what revenue has thereby accrued to each local authority; and what proportion of the total in each year was used for (a) repairing and (b) building council housing. 
Keith Hill: Annual figures for council right to buy activity for 19992000 to 200203 by local authority are available from the Housing Statistics section on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's internet site. These tables show the number of right to buy sales and the average selling price excluding discount for each reporting local authority.
It is a matter for individual authorities to decide how to use the receipts they retain from right to buy sales in the light of local needs and priorities. Information on how local authorities chose to use the retained receipts from right to buy sales is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The web link for 19992000 to 200102 information on Right to Buy activity is: http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_control/documents/contentsservertemplate/odpm_index.hcst?n=1680&l=4 [HousingHousing StatisticsPublicationsLocal Housing StatisticsAnnual Statistics]
The web link for 200203 information is: http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_housing/documents/page/odpm_house_029535.xls [HousingHousing StatisticsLive TablesSocial Housing SalesTable number 648]
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost was of (a) drafting, (b) publishing and (c) circulating (i) Working togethertackling not tolerating antisocial behaviour, (ii) One Year Ontogether tackling anti-social behaviour and (iii) central Government funding of voluntary and community organisations. 
Officials from the Government's Antisocial Behaviour Unit drafted the two Together" reports published on 28 October 2004 as part of their daily duties. An estimate of £59,499 has been made for the drafting, publication and circulation for both reports.
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The One Year On and Practitioners' reports have been distributed widely to key stakeholder groups and individuals throughout England and Wales. They were initially distributed at the One Year On event held on 28 October to an audience in excess of 600 people drawn from local authorities, community groups, members of the public, police, MPs, and antisocial behaviour practitioners. Since this time the reports have also been available online and downloadable from the website and have received over 1,270 individual hits.
Distribution to 6,000 individuals and groups from the range of key stakeholder groups including CDRP chairs, ASB Co-ordinators, Action Areas and Trailblazer representatives, and Together Academy attendees has also occurred along with individual mailouts upon request.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what target time has been set for reaching an initial decision on (a) asylum and (b) non-asylum applications; and what percentage of cases were processed within these target periods in the last period for which figures are available. 
(a) The Home Office's Public Service Agreement (PSA) target for 200304 was to ensure that 75 per cent. of new substantive asylum applications (excluding withdrawals and 3rd country cases) were decided within two months. This was an increase from the 65 per cent. and 60 per cent. targets met in 200203 and 200102 respectively.
The 200304 target was exceeded, with 82 per cent. of new substantive applications having an initial decision reached and served within two months. The speed of initial decisions continues to improve with 84 per cent. of substantive applications received in Q2 (April to June) 2004 having an initial decision reached and served within two months, and reflects the Governments commitment to, and continued success in, speeding up the initial decision-making process.
Information on the number of asylum applications outstanding, and the timeliness of initial decisions are published quarterly on the Home Office website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
The internal targets that have been set are for the whole period from 1 October 2004 to 31 March 2005 and are summarised in the table. The table includes provisional management information currently available on performance so far against those targets.
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|Application Type||Target from 1 October 2004||Provisional management|
information on performance for
|Charged general leave to remain (postal)||70 per cent. in 3 weeks||68 per cent. in 3 weeks|
|85 per cent. in 13 weeks||85 per cent. in 13 weeks|
|Charged general leave to remain (Public Enquiry Office)||98 per cent. in 24 hours||85 per cent. in 24 hours|
|Non-charged general leave to remain (postal)||20 per cent. 3 weeks||37 per cent. in 3 weeks|
|25 per cent. in 13 weeks||52 per cent. in 13 weeks|
|Non-charged general leave to remain (Public Enquiry Office)||95 per cent. in 24 hours||97 per cent. in 24 hours|
|Work permit, including sector based scheme||70 per cent. in 1 week||66 per cent. in 1 week|
|90 per cent. in 3 weeks||84 per cent. in 3 weeks|
|Charged leave to remain (postal) for immigration employment document||70 per cent. in 3 weeks||35 per cent. 3 weeks|
|90 per cent. in 8 weeks||82 per cent. 8 weeks|
|Highly skilled migrant programme||50 per cent. in 4 weeks||25 per cent. in 4 weeks|
|90 per cent. in 13 weeks||38 per cent. in 13 weeks|
|Worker registration scheme||70 per cent. in 1 week||40 per cent. in 1 week|
|90 per cent. in 3 weeks||91 per cent. in 3 weeks|
|Nationality||50 per cent. in 13 weeks||48 per cent. in 13 weeks|
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of Zimbabwean asylum seekers received (a) refugee status and (b) another form of protection from the UK Government in each quarter since 1997. 
The tables show initial decision and appeal determinations by quarter, where available, for Zimbabwean asylum applicants, 1997 to Q3 2004. Decisions do not necessarily relate to applications made
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in the same period and appeal outcomes do not necessarily relate to initial decisions made in the same period.
Information on asylum applications is published quarterly. The next publication covering the fourth quarter of 2004 will be available on 22 February 2005 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
|Cases considered under normal procedures(8)||Backlog clearance exercise|
|Total initial decisions||
Grants of asylum||Grants of ELR, HP|
|Total refusals||Total backlog clearance exercise||Backlog clearance|
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice his Department provides to its asylum officials regarding the grounds for granting refugee status to applicants who have fled persecution because of their homosexuality. 
Mr. Browne: All caseworkers in the immigration and nationality directorate, who are responsible for considering asylum claims, are trained in the proper application of the 1951 UN convention relating to the status of refugees and the need to apply those principles to the circumstances of the particular case. All caseworkers have access to the Home Office asylum policy instructions, which are published on the Home Office website. Additional support is provided by senior caseworkers, who are on hand to give advice and to ensure that consistently high standards of decision making are maintained.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training in sexuality issues his Department provides to officials who handle asylum applications based on persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation. 
Mr. Browne: Asylum caseworkers undergo extensive training in the assessment of asylum claims made under the 1951 convention relating to the status of refugees. This includes training in the interpretation of the five convention reasons, and specifically the definition of membership of a particular social group", which is relevant to many claims involving sexual orientation. Guidance on Membership of a Particular Social Group" and instructions on Assessing the Claim" are available to caseworkers in the form of the asylum policy instructions, which are published on the Home Office website.
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