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Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is the Government's policy to consider claims for asylum from member states of the Council of Europe; and if he will make a statement on the claims of (a) Natalia Chernyshera, (b) Dmitri Maruev and (c) Aleksandr Gorbachev from Russia. 
Mr. Browne: As a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, we consider each claim for asylum on its individual merits to determine whether the claimant can demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. An asylum claim made by a national of one of the member states of the Council of Europe would be given individual consideration.
Nationals of EU member states are subject to separate immigration arrangements. Very few EU nationals claim asylum, and claims that are received are likely to be certified as clearly unfounded with the result that there is no right of appeal against refusal.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 9 March 2005, Official Report, columns 183031W, on asylum seekers, what the average cost to public funds of removing failed asylum applicants was in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 2000, (d) 2001 and (e) 2002; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Browne: The cost of the removal of failed asylum seekers is not disaggregated from the overall costs of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) and therefore not readily available. Any attempt to calculate the cost of removal of failed asylum seekers would need to take into account a large number of factors and this could be done only at disproportionate cost. However the total public spending for IND is set out in the published Home Office Report.
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Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his recent statement to the Bicester Advertiser, to what level asylum seeker applications would need to fall for him to consider the need for accommodation centres for asylum seekers to be unnecessary. 
Mr. Browne: The statement to the Bicester Advertiser was made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. Accommodation centres continue to have an important place in the Government's policy for accommodating destitute asylum seekers and are a means of improving contact management with applicants, speeding up decision making and ultimately helping to increase removals. The Government have not set a level of intake at which accommodation centres would cease to be necessary, nor are there plans to do so.
Mr. Browne [holding answer 24 March 2005]: Asylum and human rights claims by Burmese nationals are, like those of all claimants, from all countries, considered on their individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). If the claimant meets the definition of a refugee in the 1951 Refugee Convention, they are granted asylum. If they do not qualify for asylum, but there are other circumstances that make them particularly vulnerable and engage our obligations under the ECHR, they are granted humanitarian protection or discretionary leave. If an application is refused, and any appeal is unsuccessful, then we expect the individual concerned to leave the UK voluntarily. If they do not, we consider that it is reasonable for us to enforce the return of that individual.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reports the Government has received regarding the monitoring of Burmese dissidents and asylum seekers in the UK by the Burmese embassy and Burmese Government officials in the UK. 
Mr. Browne [holding answer 24 March 2005]: The Government are aware that in the 1990s, the Burmese authorities took photographs of demonstrators outside the Burmese embassy in London. We are also aware that there are security cameras on the building/embassy walls, which could be used to monitor any demonstration outside the embassy. The UK Government have not received any further specific reports regarding the monitoring of Burmese dissidents and asylum seekers in the UK by the Burmese authorities.
Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to achieve the Government's targets of ending child poverty by 2020, and halving it by 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Goggins [holding answer 9 March 2005]: The Home Office is supporting the Treasury in meeting the ambitious targets this Government have set on child poverty. Children born into poverty are more likely to be victims of crime and more likely to offend. The child poverty review highlighted the strong associations between youth crime, parental crime and child poverty.
In order to tackle the poor outcomes associated with child poverty, and to improve the life chances of poor children, the Home Office has invested in a number of prevention programmes for children at risk of involvement in crime or substance misuse.
To break the cycle of youth offending and deprivation, the Home Office strategic plan includes a commitment to increase youth crime prevention programmes. This includes multi-agency youth inclusion and support panels, targeting high risk children and their families, providing them with support and improving their access to mainstream services. It also includes the youth inclusion programme, which targets the 13 to 16-year-olds most at risk of crime in 72 of the most deprived neighbourhoods. The numbers of both will be increased by 50 per cent. by 2008. We have also increased the coverage of intensive supervision and surveillance programme (ISSPs).
Children living in poverty are a key risk group for substance misuse. We are targeting young people in the most deprived neighbourhoods at risk of substance misuse through 'Positive Futures', a national sports based social inclusion programme aimed at marginalised 10 to 19-year-olds. Positive Futures aims to
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