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Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have died from the effects of vitamins and supplements in (a) Lancashire, (b) Chorley and (c) the north west in the last three years. 
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many people have died from the effects of vitamins and supplements in (a) Lancashire, (b) Chorley and (c)the North West in the last three years. I am replying in his absence. (216241)
Available figures relate to poisoning by vitamins and vitamin supplements. They do not include adverse effects of vitamins and vitamin supplements in therapeutic use. The most recent available figures are for the calendar year 2003. There were 2 deaths recorded nationally from poisoning by vitamins and vitamin supplements 1 between the calendar years 2001 and 2003. Because of the risk of disclosure these data can not be disaggregated by area.
The Immigration Service has introduced a number of initiatives in the last 12 months to increase the number of failed asylum seekers removed from the United Kingdom. These include; creating a clear
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and distinct national framework of offices dedicated to delivery the enforcement and removals agenda; increasing the number of removals under the assisted voluntary returns scheme; increasing the number of returns to safe third countries through the increased use of ring fence detention; increasing the number of removals in London by using flexible and mobile teams able to better support other agencies; re-evaluating the way in which we deal with family removals; maximising removals for our network of reporting centres and working to reduce disruptive behaviour designed to frustrate removal at the point of departure.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his Department's targets are for (a) the proportion of asylum cases to be decided within (i) two and (ii) six months, (b) the proportion of asylum decisions to be audited as fully effective or better and (c) the proportion of failed asylum seekers who are removed from the country. 
(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 third country casesl) were decided within two months. That target remains for 200405. 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.
(ii) The PSA target for 200304 was to ensure that 60 per cent. of new substantive asylum applications are decided (including final appeal) within 6 months. The target increased to 65 per cent. for 200405. The target was exceeded with 64 per cent. of applications received
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in 200304 (April 2003 to March 2004) having a final decision, up to and including appeals at the IAT, within six months.
(b) The PSA target for the quality of initial asylum decisions is to ensure that: 80 per cent. of asylum decisions sampled at random in 200304 are found to be fully effective or better, and that 80 per cent. of asylum decisions assessed by external assessors sampled at random in 200304 are found to be fully effective or better. Both criteria increase to 85 per cent. for the year 200506.
The 200304 target was exceeded with 85 per cent. of criteria assessed on asylum decisions sampled at random by internal assessors during 200304 (April 2003 to March 2004) found to be fully effective or better. 81 per cent. of criteria assessed on asylum decisions sampled at random by external assessors during 200304 (April 2003 to March 2004) were found to be fully effective or better.
The ratio of numbers of asylum seekers removed (including dependants) in 200304 to those becoming failed asylum seekers (either did not appeal or appeal rights exhausted) in 200304 was 21 per cent. (compared with an estimated 21 per cent. for 200203).
The five-year strategy for asylum and immigration, published on 7 February, commits the department to ensure that the monthly rate of removals exceeds the number of unfounded applications by the end of 2005.
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.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether special measures have been put in place to assist asylum seekers and refugees (a) to find family members directly affected by the tsunami and (b) to go home to help with reconstruction. 
Mr. Browne: There are no separate arrangements in place to assist asylum seekers and refugees to find family members directly affected by the tsunami. However, the British Red Cross does provide assistance in searching for missing family members.
Those asylum seekers wishing to return to countries in the region are able to apply for assistance through the International Organization for Migration's voluntary assisted returns and reintegration programme. Requests by recognised refugees to return temporarily, for example to undertake reconstruction, are being considered on a compassionate and case by case basis.
Mr. Browne: The Home Office is satisfied that there is already sufficient independence in the immigration statistics, for which it is responsible. Immigration control and asylum statistics are part of National Statistics. They are produced by statisticians, whose independence is established under the National Statistics Code of Practice, and the statistics themselves are acknowledged as reliable. The National Audit Office's review in May last year found that the asylum data and statistics are in most respects reliable".
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for producing National Statistics on migrants entering or leaving the United Kingdom, and England and Wales. The ONS' estimates of migrants are compiled from a number of data sources, including the International Passenger Survey and date from the Home Office.
National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. As such, they undergo quality assurance reviews and are produced free from any political interference.
The Government's White Paper, 'Building trust in statistics', sets out the framework for assuring the quality of National Statistics. A key component of the framework is to conduct a programme of thorough reviews of key outputs, at least every five years. The National Statistics Quality Review of the International Migration was published on 2 September 2003 and covered all forms of migration between the UK and the rest of the world, including statistics relating to all migrants and statistics relating to migrants subject to UK immigration control. The Home Office is about to embark on a National Statistics review of its publications relating to the control of immigration statistics, including the presentation of asylum statistics within these.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department has received from the High Commission in Islamabad case papers on the case of Mr. I. H., husband of Mrs. S. B. of Aylesbury, reference ISB/747450. 
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