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Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to ensure that widowed lone parents receive for tax credit purposes the same disregard for their widows' pension as is received by divorcees for their maintenance payments. 
The child and working tax credits are part of the tax system and tax credit entitlement is therefore generally based on all income of a tax year which is taken into account for income tax purposes. This includes taxable social security benefits such as widowed parent's allowance. Income which is exempt from income tax is disregarded for tax credits. In
particular, maintenance received from a former spouse is disregarded to help lone parents in these circumstances to find and keep work and to encourage the payment of maintenance by the former spouse.
However, the widowed parent's allowance, together with some other income, already benefits from a £300 annual disregard which reduces the amount of such income which is taken into account for tax credit purposes.
Dawn Primarolo: The working tax credit provides financial support on top of earnings for households with low incomes, making sure that work pays. It was introduced to tackle poor work incentives and persistent poverty among working people, and to respond to family circumstances, targeting resources on those most in need.
The working tax credit recognises the difficulties that those with children face in combining work with family responsibilities and the difficulties that workers with a disability may face. Workers with neither children nor a disability, aged 25 or over, are entitled to the working tax credit provided they work at least 30 hours a week. Eligibility begins at this point because it is those aged 25 or over who are most likely to face poorer incentives to work or suffer persistent poverty in work.
Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when Ahmed Omar Maruf, Home Office Ref: A1043799, a constituent of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood, will receive a decision on his application for indefinite leave to remain following his in time application in August 2006. 
Mr. Coaker: Information from the Court Proceedings Database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform showing the number of retailers prosecuted for selling alcohol to minors, allowing sale to minors and wholesale sale to minors is shown in the following table.
The offence of sale of alcohol to a person under 18 can attract a penalty notice for disorder (PND). The offence was added to the PND scheme on the 1 November 2004, and there were 113 penalty notices issued for the offence in November and December of that year. 2,058 penalty notices were issued in 2005 and provisional data for January to June 2006 shows that a further 1,562 penalty notices were issued for the offence in that period.
|Number of defendants p roceeded against at magistrates courts for selling alcohol to underage customers, England and Wales 1995-2005( 1, 2)|
|Offence description||Principal statute||Year||Proceeded against|
|(1 )These data are provided on the principal offence basis.|
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the police forces and courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(3) Sections 146 and 147 of the 2003 Licensing Act only came into effect from 24 November 2005, so data prior to 2005 are not available.
RDSOffice for Criminal Justice Reform
Joan Ryan: We announced on 21 May 2004, Official Report, column 69WS, that the Home Office would transfer its budget for research into the reduction, replacement and refinement of animal experimentation (the 3Rs) to the National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) once pre-existing commitments had been honoured. Accordingly, the Home Office contributed £35,000, £125,000 and £250,000 to the funding of the Centre in financial years 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07, respectively.
The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research is an independent organisation, funded by Government,
research councils and industry, reporting to the Minister for Science and Innovation, and provides a United Kingdom focus for the promotion, development and implementation of the 3Rs in animal research and testing. The centre funds high-quality 3Rs research and facilitates the exchange of information and ideas, the identification of knowledge gaps, and the translation of research findings into practice to benefit both animals and science.
Joan Ryan: The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate assesses applications for animal experimentation licences and inspects licensed work and facilities where work under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is carried out. There are currently 28 inspectors based in offices at Cambridge, Dundee, London, Shrewsbury and Swindon. It remains our aim to achieve a complement of 33 inspectors in total. We have no plans for any further increase beyond this target figure at the present time.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what requests for information have been received by (a) his Department and (b) the Serious Fraud Office from the US Justice Department on the investigation into the Al Yamamah military contract. 
Joan Ryan: Correspondence between the UK and other countries relating to such matters is by its very nature confidential in order to protect the integrity of any ongoing criminal investigation. It therefore follows that the Home Office can neither confirm nor deny that such requests have been received, considered or made by UK authorities.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seeker claims were not processed within eight weeks in the last year for which figures are available; and how long it took to process those claims. 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 21 March 2007]: The latest published figures show that 76 per cent.(1) of applications in the financial year 2005-06 had initial decisions made and served within two months, 84 per cent. within four months and 87 per cent. within six months.
Information on the timeliness of initial decisions is published quarterly and annually. Copies of these publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website at:
(1) Source: A-CID database as at 15 January 2007. Two months is defined as 61 days; four months is defined as 122 days; six months is defined as 182 days.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people seeking asylum in the UK as an unaccompanied child in (a) 2005 and (b) 2006 who were the subject of an age dispute were subsequently found to be aged over 18 years. 
Mr. Byrne: In 2005 there were 2,425 applications from Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASCs) in which the age was disputed. As at 12 June 2006 the applicants age was still recorded as disputed in 1,775 cases (cases may be resolved either if the applicant withdraws their claim to be a minor, or the Home Office receives credible evidence that the applicant is the age claimed).
Statistics on age disputed applications are published annually and figures for 2006 will be published in August 2007. Copies of these publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at:
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people seeking asylum are held in custody; and what the equivalent figure was for (a) March 2005 and (b) March 2004. 
As at the end of December 2006, 175 asylum seekers were recorded as receiving asylum support in Northern Ireland. This figure excludes those asylum seekers who are living in Northern Ireland but are not receiving support from IND.
The numbers of asylum seekers in receipt of support from IND, broken down by Government office region and local authority, are published on a quarterly and annual basis. Copies of these publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html. Further breakdowns, of those in receipt of support from IND, by parliamentary constituency are also available from the Library of the House.
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