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22 May 2007 : Column 1240W—continued

St. Albans

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Minister for Delivery and Reform in her Department next plans to visit St. Albans in an official capacity. [121753]

Andy Burnham: I have no current plans to visit St. Albans in an official capacity.

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Streptococcus: Screening

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the danger to pregnant women posed by infection with group B streptococcus; what plans she has (a) to introduce a national screening programme for pregnant women and (b) to raise awareness of infection among (i) women and (ii) health care professionals; what assessment she has made of the indicative reliability of (A) a high vaginal swab and (B) the enrichment culture method test; and what plans she has to make the enrichment culture method test available to women free at the point of demand on the NHS. [138505]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The current position is that routine screening of group B streptococcus (GBS) should not be offered to all pregnant women. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guideline on antenatal care states that pregnant women should not be offered routine antenatal screening for GBS because evidence of its clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness remains uncertain.

Information for women is now in the Pregnancy Book and on NHS Direct Online. The Royal College of Gynaecologists and the charity Group B Strep Support (GBSS) also publish information for women. The UK National Screening Committee has commissioned an electronic learning resource for health care professionals from the National Electronic Library for Health to promote the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ guideline on “Prevention of Early Onset Neonatal Group B Streptococcal Disease”.

A proposal for NICE to appraise the use of an enriched culture medium for the detection of GBS carriage in a subset of pregnant women with clinical risk factors has been submitted on behalf of the UK National Screening Committee’s GBS Co-ordinating Group and is under consideration.

Home Department

Asylum: Children

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that any new proposals for charging arrangements relating to the treatment of children entering the UK and applying for asylum status are not implemented prior to debate in the House following the end of the consultation period currently underway. [136544]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 9 May 2007]: The consultation paper that we published on 1 March: “Planning Better Outcomes and Support for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children”, outlined a number of changes to immigration and support arrangements for these young people. Some of these changes are already being progressed following consultation with the relevant stakeholders. An example is an improved and faster process for determining their asylum claims. The paper proposes further reforms, including plans to locate greater numbers of the young people outside the south-east of England. The consultation period ends on 31 May. We
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will consider carefully all responses to the consultation and the most appropriate way to set out our conclusions and plans for implementation.

Asylum: Somalia

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the risk faced by a member of the minority Reer Hamar clan in Somalia of persecution in that country; and what account is taken of that risk assessment in determining claims for asylum by members of the Reer Hamar clan in the United Kingdom. [138762]

Mr. Byrne: The situation in Somalia including the position of the Rer Hamar minority group is monitored closely from a wide range of recognised and publicly disclosable governmental, non governmental and human rights sources. Asylum decision makers carefully assess the protection needs of each asylum applicant in accordance with our international obligations and against the background of this country information. While it is accepted that some individuals of the Rer Hamar group will be able to demonstrate a need for international protection, it is not considered that each and every member of this group who applies for asylum will demonstrate a need for international protection.

Asylum: Sudan

Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department takes to assess claims of Darfuri African ethnicity by those seeking asylum in the UK. [138618]

Mr. Byrne: All applications for asylum including those from Sudanese nationals of Darfuri origin are considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with our international obligations and relevant jurisprudence and taking into account the latest available country information.

Asylum: Suicide

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many failed asylum seekers have committed suicide in the UK before being deported in the last five years. [134804]

Mr. Byrne: The information requested is not collated centrally.

British Nationality: Correspondence

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) items of correspondence and (b) other representations his Department and its agencies have received from (i) hon. and right hon. Members and Peers and (ii) others on British citizenship for those born to British mothers and foreign fathers before 1961. [138196]

Mr. Byrne: The Border and Immigration Agency has received 5,145 letters from hon. and right hon. Members and peers on issues relating to nationality
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issues since August 2004, the earliest date that records are available. No information is available on the specific subject matters raised by members.

No information is available on the volume of correspondence received from others or whether the correspondence related to individuals born before 1961.

Burglary: Suffolk

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many bogus caller incidents were recorded in Suffolk in each of the last five years. [138408]

Mr. Coaker: The available information relates to recorded offences of distraction burglary. The Home Office has published statistics since 2003-04 and statistics for Suffolk are provided in the following table.

Recorded offences of distraction burglary in Suffolk
Number of offences







Crime: Business

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to tackle crime against business. [138006]

Mr. Coaker: Since 2004 the Home Office has provided more than £1 million of funding to the Action Against Business Crime Group (AABC) to set up 120 new business crime reduction partnerships in towns and cities across England and Wales. It has also, in partnership with stakeholders, produced a booklet to enable businesses to undertake a crime prevention survey of their premises. More than 125,000 copies of this booklet have so far been printed and distributed. A set of top tips postcards have also been produced giving more general advice to retailers and others on how to reduce the risk of being a victim of crime.

A new strand of the forthcoming Crime Reduction Strategy will include a renewed focus on working with business to see what more can be done to tackle crime problems.

Measures will be taken to raise the profile of business crime among Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) by highlighting the need to tackle this in the Public Service Agreement Delivery Plan. The Home Office will also seek to raise the profile of crime against businesses, to ensure that CDRPs consult and engage with the business community as part of their wider community consultation to identify local priorities.

Neighbourhood policing has been introduced across England and Wales to deal with low-level crime and antisocial behaviour and in some communities this will include, for example, Police Community Support Officers working in partnership with local businesses.

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Departments: Delivery Unit

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which projects in his Department the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit has assessed in the last 12 months. [137070]

Mr. Byrne: In the last 12 months, the PMDU has carried out joint reviews with the Home Office on a range of projects. These include:

Departments: Departmental Reorganisation

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what effect he expects the forthcoming reorganisation of his Department to have on the allocation and organisation of Government buildings; and if he will make a statement. [134306]

Mr. Byrne: In accordance with normal practice for machinery of Government changes responsibility for those buildings wholly occupied by Home Office staff transferring to the Ministry of Justice will also be transferred. Arrangements for the small number of buildings that will be shared between the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice will be managed in accordance with normal practice for jointly occupied buildings that form part of the Government's civil estate.

Departments: India

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which Ministers in his Department have visited India in the last 12 months; on how many occasions each Minister visited India; and what the length was of each visit. [135550]

Mr. Byrne: This Government publish an annual list of Cabinet Ministers' travel overseas costing over £500 along with the total cost of all ministerial travel. Information for 2005-06 was published on 24 July 2006 and is available in the Library of the House. Information for 2006-07 will be published as soon as it is ready.

All travel is in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers.

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Departments: Paper

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of paper used (a) for photocopying and (b) in printed publications by his Department was from recycled sources in each of the last three years. [134042]

Mr. Byrne: The Home Office is committed to meeting the current cross-Government sustainable operations targets which includes paper recycling rates. It is also committed to meeting the mandatory minimum environmental procurement product standards which include paper standards.

During the last three years all paper used by the main Home Office for photocopying was from recycled sources. We hold no information on the percentage of recycled paper used in printed publications in 2004-05, but for 2005-06 and 2006-07 respectively the figures were 6 per cent. and 25 per cent. Since late 2006 the Home Office has been using recycled paper for all of its printed publications.

Driving Under Influence

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drink driving tests were carried out in each police authority in 2004. [138643]

Mr. Coaker: Information on the number of tests carried out is provided in the following table:

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Screening breath tests, by police force area 2004( 1) , England and Wales
Police force area Total tests

Avon and Somerset














Devon and Cornwall










Greater Manchester
















London, City of




Metropolitan Police








North Yorkshire




South Yorkshire










Thames Valley




West Mercia


West Midlands


West Yorkshire








North Wales


South Wales




(1) Following a comparison between the number of positive breath tests reported by each police force in 2004 and the number of court proceedings for drink/driving related offences, it became clear that there was under-reporting in a number of forces. As a result Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Dyfed-Powys, Gwent and South Wales, court proceedings figures have been substituted for the positive breath test figures. Similar adjustments were also made to various forces data between 1998 and 2003.
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 police forces. 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.

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