Previous Section Index Home Page

5 Feb 2007 : Column 690W—continued

In Germany, improvement schemes such as the hired accommodation revitalisation programme, the programme of upgrade of married accommodation (PUMA) and the short term accommodation review (STAR) have been put in place. Accommodation to be improved is being targeted on a worse first basis, dependant on the availability of units for redevelopment. 937 of the worst hired service families accommodation (SFA) units will have been replaced, or upgraded, by March 2007. A
5 Feb 2007 : Column 691W
total of 1,557 SFA properties and 1,655 single living accommodation (SLA) bed spaces will have been upgraded and modernised under project PUMA by March 2007.

In Cyprus, a programme of Ministry of Defence funded construction of 269 new build SFA is due to commence in the summer. In parallel, a refurbishment programme of the remaining houses will begin later in the year. In Gibraltar, 74 new build SFA are due for completion next year and the refurbishment of the remaining facilities is programmed to follow. In the Falkland Islands, construction has just started on an additional 12 houses, with another two per annum to be provided by the Falkland Islands government.

For SLA, there are major improvement programmes under way in both Cyprus and Gibraltar. In the south Atlantic, an operational theatre consideration is being given to the re-provision of existing SLA.

UK Armed Forces Veterans Lapel Badge

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) men and (b) women have received the UK Armed Forces Veterans Lapel Badge in each year since its introduction, broken down by branch of the armed forces. [109081]

Mr. Ingram: Prior to August 2006 the information requested was not held in the format requested and therefore the Veterans Agency cannot identify how many men and women in each year have received the Veterans Lapel Badge broken down by service.

However, I can confirm that from May 2004, when the scheme was introduced, to 17 April 2005 a total of 82,000 badges were issued. From 18 April 2005 to March 2006, 139,786 badges were issued and from April 2006 to 18 December 2006, 133,708 were issued; a combined total of approximately 355,500.

From 18 August 2006 the Veterans Agency introduced a new database which enables limited analysis of the applications. It is now possible to give details of how many Veterans’ badges have been awarded to personnel who served in each of the armed forces. The figures from 18 August 2006 to 18 December 2006 are shown in the table:




Home Guard




Royal Navy


Royal Air Force


The Veterans Agency data do not make the distinction between male and female recipients.

Used Oil Disposals

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the cost to his Department of the disposal of used oil from military bases in the UK was in the last period for which figures are available; [117700]

5 Feb 2007 : Column 692W

(2) how much oil from military bases in the UK was used for the production of biodiesel used by his Department in the last period for which figures are available. [117702]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 30 January 2007]: The MOD is currently investigating recycling used cooking oils as bio-diesel. No such fuel has yet been produced.

At present cooking oils are disposed of from MOD sites locally, usually through multi-activity contracts. Costs associated with such disposal activity are not routinely recorded but are estimated to be in the region of £100,000 per year.

The MOD disposes of used fuel oils via a specialist contractor for onward sale for use as marine diesel, for use in the domestic heating market or disposed of as incinerator fuel. Over 4,500 tonnes of fuel oil has been disposed of in the past six months in this way. Under the terms of the contract the MOD receives a percentage of the revenue generated and there is therefore no net cost to the Department from this disposal activity.

War Graves: Derby

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will seek an assessment of whether war graves within the city of Derby are adequately maintained to provide a fitting environment in which to commemorate the deceased Royal Marine recently returned from Iraq. [103907]

Mr. Ingram: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible for the maintenance of the war graves of British and Commonwealth personnel and is not aware of any concerns over maintenance in the Derby area.

The graves of personnel who have died in military service outside the first and second world war, or their immediate aftermath, are classified as non-war graves. The location and choice of funeral and burial arrangements for serving military personnel is a matter of personal choice for the individual’s immediate family or executor.

If the family elect to have a headstone supplied and paid for at public expense, such graves will be maintained in perpetuity by the Ministry of Defence.

Works of Art

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2007, Official Report, column 1372W, on works of art, whether information on works of art stolen has been provided to the Arts Loss Register to assist recovery. [111534]

Derek Twigg: There is only a requirement to report a theft to the Art Loss Registry if it is a publicly owned work of art. All of the thefts within the last 10 years are of works that have been donated to regiments or were privately owned. A decision to report any loss has therefore been on a case-by-case basis.

5 Feb 2007 : Column 693W

Duchy of Lancaster

Civil Service Bill

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) when the Prime Minister first undertook to bring forward a Civil Service Bill; and if she will make a statement; [116867]

(2) when she expects to publish the results of the consultation on the draft Civil Service Bill. [110617]

Hilary Armstrong: The background to the publication of the Government's Consultation Document on a draft Civil Service Bill set out in Command Paper 6373, a copy of which is available in the Library for the reference of Members. The Government will make a statement in due course.

Committee on Standards in Public Life

Mr. Purchase: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the cost was to the public purse of the Committee on Standards in Public Life in 2006-07. [112254]

Hilary Armstrong: As an NDPB of the Cabinet Office, the Committee’s costs for 2006-07 will be available in the Cabinet Office’s 2006-07 resource accounts. These should be published shortly before the 2007 summer recess.

Cross-departmental Databases

Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans the Government have to (a) amend data-sharing rules and (b) facilitate (i) cross-departmental databases of personal data and (ii) cross-departmental transfer of personal data. [117625]

Vera Baird: I have been asked to reply.

The Information-sharing Vision Statement, published in September 2006, made clear that the Government are committed to greater data sharing to fight crime; deliver better public services; provide opportunities for the disadvantaged; and in other instances, where it is in the public interest. We will ensure that robust safeguards are in place to protect personal information before, during and after it is shared.

There are no current over-arching plans for facilitating cross-departmental databases, or transfer, of personal data. This, as with cross-departmental transfer of personal data, remains a matter for agreement between Departments and agencies on a case-by-case basis, via appropriate specific legislation.

Departmental Contracts

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which public affairs firms have been given contracts by (a) her Department and (b) public bodies sponsored by her Department in the last five years; and what the purpose was of each contract. [118475]

Hilary Armstrong: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

5 Feb 2007 : Column 694W

Economic Dynamism

Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the Prime Minister’s announcement on 16 January 2007 on the six policy review working groups, who will chair the review of Economic Dynamism. [117877]

Hilary Armstrong: The strand of the policy review on economic dynamism is steered by the full Cabinet, with the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Productivity and Competitiveness (EAPC) following up with more detailed work. EAPC is chaired by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Home Department

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders were breached by (a) adults and (b) children in the most recent year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [112401]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 30 January 2007]: ASBO breach data are available up to 31 December 2005 (latest available). For ASBOs issued between 1 June 2000 and 31 December 2005, 2,037 adults (defined as aged 18 or over at the time the breach was proved in court) and 1,353 children (defined as aged 10 to 17 at the time the breach was proved in court) breached their ASBO at least once during 2005.

Asylum Decisions

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his response is to the proposal by the Chairman of the Advisory Board on Naturalisation and Immigration that there should be an independent element in asylum decisions. [111898]

Mr. Byrne: Mary Coussey, Chairman of the Advisory Board on Naturalisation and Immigration, recommended that there should be an independent element in initial asylum decisions in paragraph 3.30 of the 4(th) Annual Report completed in her other role as Independent Race Monitor. The report and the Home Secretary’s response can be found on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) website at:

The Home Secretary rejected this proposal in his response to the Race Monitor’s annual report 2005-06 in November 2006, which is published on the same webpage. However, he indicated that we were considering a new approach to the substantive asylum interview to allow the claimant’s legal adviser to play a more significant role. To this end we are currently piloting and evaluating an approach in Solihull which encourages legal representatives to work with the case owner to ensure all relevant evidence is correctly identified and taken into account before the asylum decision is made.

5 Feb 2007 : Column 695W

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers have been taken from detention centres to (a) Heathrow, (b) Stansted and (c) other airports and then taken back to the detention centre in each of the last 24 months; why the decision was made to return the individual to a detention centre in each case; and what the cost was of each such incident. [111899]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained by examination of individual records only at disproportionate cost.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what factors are taken into account when deciding to use dawn raids to detain failed asylum seekers with families; whether he authorises dawn raids; and whether he is notified in advance that such dawn raids are to be made and on whom; [111894]

(2) whether the medical needs of failed asylum seekers are examined by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate before a dawn raid is authorised; [111915]

(3) if he will publish the instructions given to Immigration and Nationality Directorate officers on the use of dawn raids as a method of detaining asylum seekers. [111916]

Mr. Byrne: The factors to be taken into account when deciding the timing of a family detention visit are whether it is the best time of day to pick up the whole family as an entire unit, the sensitivity of the immigration visit, whether there may be community or other local difficulties, and whether the purpose of the visit would be frustrated if carried out at a different time. Chapters 46 and 47 of the Operational Enforcement Manual (OEM), available on the IND website at set out the levels of authority of enforcement visits, including when Ministers are advised of forthcoming operations.

Immigration officers are instructed, in chapter 58 of the OEM, to take into account any medical or special needs before a detention visit takes place, and in particular to ensure that the condition is not one which will prevent detention or removal.

Instructions to immigration officers on the timing of detention visits is contained in the Operational Enforcement Manual (OEM) which is published on the IND website

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the dispersal of section 4 asylum seekers out of London. [112377]

Mr. Byrne: The dispersal of failed asylum seekers supported under section four of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 out of London is a result of the transfer from national s4 contracts to new regional target contracts. The regional target contracts provide improved value for money and require providers to meet defined accommodation standards.

5 Feb 2007 : Column 696W

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether training is given to Immigration and Nationality Directorate staff engaged on dawn raids on asylum seekers with regard to (a) forcible entry, (b) restraint and control, (c) assessment of medical conditions, (d) interpretation skills, (e) grief counselling and (f) anger management. [115604]

Mr. Byrne: The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) does not conduct ‘raids’ against asylum seekers. Officers undertake operational visits to detain and remove persons who no longer have the right to remain in the UK and do so in line with operational policy and guidance.

IND staff conducting immigration enforcement work are provided with full training in their powers prior to commencing enforcement work. Forced entry is currently only undertaken by specifically trained immigration officers and police officers working alongside immigration teams.

IND enforcement officers have the power to use force to control and/or restrain under section 146 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Any use of force is governed by this legislation and must be reasonable, necessary and proportionate. Current policy is that only staff who have undergone arrest training and been personally authorised by the Director of Enforcement can exercise these powers.

Known medical conditions are highlighted and considered as part of the planning for the enforcement visit. If a medical condition is identified which requires specialist assistance, this is incorporated into the plan for the visit.

Many IND staff are able to converse in foreign languages. Interpreters are used when appropriate.

IND enforcement staff do not undergo any specific training in grief counselling, however as part of their general training they are taught to deal with all people encountered in a polite and sensitive manner.

Officers do not receive specific training in their own anger management however both the initial training and the annual refresher training that arrest trained officers are required to undergo and successfully complete require them to demonstrate their ability to remain professional and objective when dealing with difficult, emotional scenarios.

Next Section Index Home Page