Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what area of office space his Department and its agencies used in central London in (a) 2004 and (b) 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hain: The total area used by my Department in central London in 2004 was 3,703 sq m. This figure reduced to 3,116 sq m in 2006 and produced a cost saving of £298,000.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost of the assisted voluntary return scheme was in 2005-06; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: The two main assisted voluntary return (AVR) schemes operating during 2005-06 were the voluntary assisted return and reintegration programme (VARRP) and the assisted voluntary return for irregular migrants (AVRIM).
VARRP is operated by the International Organization Migration (IOM) on behalf of the Home Office. In the programme year 1 August 2005 to 31 July 2006 the scheme cost £8.65 million to run. £3.45 million was funded by the European Refugee Fund (ERF) and £5.19 million was funded by the Home Office.
There were 5,002 returns under the programme with an average of 417 returns per month which is an increase of 192 per cent. compared to the previous VARRP year. VARRP returns accounted for approximately 25 per cent. of all failed asylum seeker removals between one August 2005 to 31 July 2006. Returns are approximately 25 per cent of the cost of an enforced removal.
During the operating year 01 April 2005 to 31 March 2006 AVRIM cost £555,453 and was fully funded by the Home Office. This was the first full year of the programme and there were 539 returns with approximately a third of these were to Brazil. Reintegration assistance is available to vulnerable individuals such as victims of trafficking.
AVR provides for a dignified and sustainable return. Voluntary returns are possible to a number of countries to which enforced removals, particularly of families, are challenging and there are savings to the
public purse with savings in MASS support, detention costs and in the case of families, savings in NHS and local authority costs.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many citizenship ceremonies have taken place in Northern Ireland since their introduction; and how many people who have become British citizens have had such a ceremony, broken down by nationality of origin, in each case. 
Mr. Byrne: Citizenship ceremonies were introduced on 1 January 2004. Between that date and 25 February 2007, 628 people have attended a citizenship ceremony in Northern Ireland and have become British citizens. The figures, broken down by nationality of origin, are shown in the following table:
|(1) Holder of special administrative region passport|
(2) Holder of certificate of identify or document of identity
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which public affairs firms have been given contracts by (a) his Department and (b) public bodies sponsored by his Department in the last five years; and what the purpose was of each contract. 
Mr. Byrne: From best available records no public affairs contracts advising clients on politics and government have been let by (a) the Department in the last five years.
The contracts and the purpose of each contract so let by (b) public bodies sponsored by the Department are shown in the table:
Luther Pendragon; projection of effective communications upon the establishment of Centrex as a NDPB
Grayling Public Affairs; Assisting in implementing the SIA approach to politics, government and other stakeholders
Mark Bolland and Associates; preparation for a hearing with the Public Accounts Committee
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department pays insurance premiums to cover payments made from the discretionary compensation scheme. 
Mr. Byrne: The Home Office does not pay insurance premiums to cover payments made from the discretionary compensation scheme for miscarriages of justice. That scheme was abolished by the then Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke), 19 April 2006, Official Report, columns 15-17W. The decision to abolish the scheme is currently subject to Judicial Review.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Irish nationals living in Northern Ireland will be required to carry a UK identity national card once they are introduced. 
Joan Ryan: Under Section 13(3) of the Identity Cards Act 2006, there is no authorisation to make any regulations that would require anyone to carry an identity card with them at all times once they are introduced.
The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement confirmed that all the peoples of Northern Ireland had the right to identify themselves as Irish, British or both, as they chose.
As such, those Irish nationals who wish to identify as a dual national may choose to obtain a British passport and, in that event, would be issued with an identity card as well. The status and entitlements of those who choose not to obtain a British passport, whether they identify as Irish, British or both will remain unchanged.
However, it is the Government's policy that, eventually, any individual who is resident in the United Kingdom for more than three months should be issued with an identity card, regardless of their nationality. Further primary legislation will need to be approved in Parliament in order to introduce such a compulsory scheme.
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