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10 Feb 2005 : Column 1739W—continued

House Arrest

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from the First Minister of the Scottish Executive about the compatibility of the proposals for detaining suspects under house arrest with the Scotland Act 1998. [215481]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have received no such representations from my right hon. Friend. Nor would I expect to, since the proposals I announced on 26 January in relation to control orders relate to national security which is not a matter within the devolved responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament. However, our respective officials are in close contact regarding development of policy and on the practical implications of the proposals in Scotland.

Identity Cards

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a copy of the study conducted by Consult Hyperion Ltd. commissioned by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate into the creation of a Biometrics Governance Framework. [214934]

Mr. Browne: The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) commissioned a study by AmtecConsulting Group in 2003 into Biometrics Co-ordination within IND in which a consultant from Consult Hyperion was involved. This report has been superseded by a study currently underway within IND into Biometrics Strategy with the same consultant from Consult Hyperion as part of the study team.

This report is currently at review stage and is unpublished. When this study is published, a copy will be placed into the Library.

Initiatives (Funding)

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what budget has been allocated to the Home Office Communications Directorate in each of the last two years; and how many staff have been employed by the Directorate in each year. [201892]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Home Office Communications Directorate—comprising the Press Office, the Information Services Unit, the Direct Communications Unit, the Internal Communications Unit and the Marketing and Strategic Unit—spent £33.127 million (sum of Resource and Capital) in the financial year 2003–04 and employed 228 staff. The budget for 2004–05 is £36.195 million and 254 staff are employed.

Magic Mushrooms

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much revenue was raised from VAT on the sale of magic mushrooms in each of the last five years. [215035]


 
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Mr. Timms: HM Customs and Excise do not collect data on VAT from individual goods and services.

Ministerial Residence

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost to public funds of the security works at his London home is; and what proportion of the total cost this represents. [209869]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office does not comment on the specific security arrangements of individuals.

National Offender Management Service

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the individual departments and units that (a) are already established and (b) are planned to be established within the National Offender Management Service. [201055]

Paul Goggins: Current Directorates within the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) are: the Chief Executive's Office, Policy, Finance, Health, Standards and Innovation, Information and Technology and that of the National Offender Manager.

As part of the NOMS change agenda, the new NOMS headquarters, alongside the Prison Service and Probation Service headquarters, is being redesigned. A proposal, including the allocation of individual units to Directorates, has been put forward to staff and trade unions for their comments. The new headquarters is being planned for April 2005 and I will write to the hon. Member once the design of the new headquarters has been agreed.

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who the employer of offender managers will be under the National Offender Management Service. [209866]

Paul Goggins: As announced on 20 July 2004, offender managers will remain employed by Probation Boards. As the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) develops, the role of Boards and the management relations between Regional Offender managers (ROMs) and offender managers will change. Detailed feasibility work and consultation will be undertaken before final decisions are made.

Neighbourhood Watch

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on Neighbourhood Watch in Lancashire. [215466]

Ms Blears: The Lancashire Neighbourhood Watch Association (LNWA) is an active organisation which has a good working relationship with Lancashire constabulary. It has 2,700 registered neighbourhood watch schemes.

LNWA has successfully re-constructed its county committee and now has four of the six Lancashire police divisions represented at county level with a strong possibility that the remaining two will join up in the near future.
 
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In addition, LNWA have reached an agreement with Lancashire constabulary and Lancashire Trading Standards to provide a website which aims to fast-track information from the police and trading standards to neighbourhood watch co-ordinators. This will help prevent crimes such as distraction burglary.

A new Lancashire county newsletter is about to be published and LNWA are working closely with the British Transport police to promote their Railway Watch scheme which aims to reduce criminal activity at railway stations in the region.

The Home Secretary and I are very appreciative of the efforts of the LNWA including its successful partnership working with the police and others.

Passports

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 25 January 2005, Official Report, column 276W, on identity cards and passports, what the reasons are for the fall in the projected numbers of passport applications between 2005 and 2009. [214909]

Mr. Browne: The answer of 25 January 2005, Official Report, column 276W gave projected volumes of passport demand between 2005 and 2014. During this period we anticipate fluctuating demand for both adult new applications and adult renewals. The pattern is different for each demand type and is based on the constraints detailed as follows.

The forecast decline in adult new passport applications is due to the following:

Adult passport renewal volumes are forecast to reflect fluctuations in the volumes of passports that are available to be renewed during the period. Passports that are available to renew include:

The peak in renewals around 2006 is partly driven by the fact that this is the tenth anniversary of the year when the one year British Visitors' Passport" was
 
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abolished and the fifth anniversary of the initial bulge in children passport issues, following the above mentioned policy change.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passports have been lost by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate while processing international student applications for leave to remain over the past five years. [214049]

Mr. Browne: Statistics on the number of letters issued for passports reported lost or mislaid by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) while processing international student applications for LTR over the last five years would be available only at disproportionate cost.

General Group in IND deals with applications for leave to remain, including those from students. Internal management information for General Group shows there were 53 letters issued for passports reported lost or mislaid from April 2001 to March 2002; 335 issued from April 2002 to March 2003; 469 issued from April 2003 to March 2004; and 207 issued from April 2004 to November 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 271,544(0.07 per cent) respectively.


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