Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions her Department has had with the Irish government on the introduction of the e-borders system in Great Britain; and what the outcome of those discussions was. 
Mr. Byrne: As outlined in our Securing the UK Border strategy, March 2007, we are reviewing the rules and operation of the common travel area to explore how border security can be strengthened. The results of that review will be announced in due course.
The governments of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland continue to work closely together at every level and keep each other informed of operational, policy and legislative issues, including the implementation of the e-Borders programme, which is a key part of the Government's plans for securing our borders.
Mr. Byrne: The concept of e-Borders, in the context of proposals to obtain passenger and crew data in from carriers for screening by the border agencies in advance of travel, was first articulated in the Government's White Paper Secure Borders, Safe Haven (CM 5387) published in February 2002.
Mr. Byrne: We continue to work closely with the Government of the Republic of Ireland at ministerial and official level on the implementation of the e-Borders programme. Discussions are ongoing at all levels on sharing best practices and procedures to enable sufficiently compatible systems.
Sir James Crosby was appointed to establish and chair the Public Private Forum on Identity Management in July 2006 with a remit to produce a preliminary report to Ministers by Easter 2007. In March 2007 he discussed his preliminary conclusions with the then Chancellor of the Exchequer and was invited to work with the forum to produce a fuller report later in the year. The report is now being finalised. No date has been fixed for publication
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures she has put in place to ensure that immigrants applying for skilled jobs in the UK who are from countries where English is not the first language will not be discriminated against as a result of the English language test requirement. 
Mr. Byrne: The Government are introducing the new points based system (PBS) to ensure that decisions on migration are objective, transparent and fair. While we recognise that an English language test presents an additional requirement for migrants, this is an important element of the new PBS which will help facilitate the integration of skilled workers coming to live and work in the UK. We expect that majority of skilled workers coming to the UK should be able to meet this requirement. Nevertheless, we will closely monitor the implementation of this requirement, and prior to launch of the PBS we will carry out an equality impact assessment.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many arrests were made by (a) police and (b) immigration officers for offences under the Immigration Act 1971 in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Byrne: The arrests collection undertaken by the Ministry of Justice provides aggregated data only on persons arrested for recorded crime (notifiable offences) by age group, gender, ethnicity, and main offence group, i.e. violence against the person, sexual offences, robbery, burglary, etc. Data are collected from 43 police forces in England and Wales. More detailed data about specific offences do not form part of this collection.
Published information is available on the total number of persons proceeded against, and found guilty, for offences under the Immigration Act 1971, in the Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom Command Paper. Copies of these publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website at:
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Reading, East (Mr. Wilson) of 8 October 2007, Official Report, column 169W, on prisons: deportation; when the Chief Executive of the Border and Immigration Agency will next update the Home Affairs Committee on the position of foreign national prisoners in the immigration detention estate. 
Mr. Byrne: The chief executive wrote to the Home Affairs Committee on 20 November in which she provided an update on the position of foreign national prisoners. A copy of this letter is available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what use the Police Service of Northern Ireland has made of street bail since the power was introduced; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Goggins: The information requested is not readily available. The Police Service of Northern Ireland has, however, undertaken to collate figures over the last reporting year (2006-07) and I will write as soon as I receive their response.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff work in his Department's parliamentary branch; and what proportion of their time is spent on dealing with (a) parliamentary questions and (b) correspondence from hon. Members and peers. 
Mr. Woodward: There are four staff working in the parliamentary branch of my Department; one head of branch, one Parliamentary Clerk, one Committee Clerk and one Questions Clerk. The Questions Clerk deals solely with parliamentary questions. The Parliamentary Clerk spends approximately 35 per cent. of his time on PQ related matters.
Correspondence from MPs and peers is handled through my and the Minister of State's private offices, rather than parliamentary section. Staff at all grades within the private offices deal with correspondence. However, there are two full-time Correspondence Clerks who mainly process correspondence from hon. Members, peers and the public.
These figures are in addition to the policy and operational staff across the Department who are responsible for drafting answers to parliamentary questions and correspondence from MPs and peers, the numbers of which could be calculated only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the Winter Supplementary Estimates (HC 29), if he will break down his Departments (a) main estimate and (b) winter supplementary estimate provision by subhead in (i) near cash and (ii) non-cash terms. 
Mr. Woodward: Near-cash and non-cash are essentially used as departmental expenditure limit (DEL) budgetary control concepts and are not specifically identified with voted resources in estimates. However, we have been able to break down net total resources for each section in the part II: subhead detail table of our main and winter supplementary estimates as follows:
|2007-08 main estimates (net resource)
|2007-08 winter supplementary (net resource)
|NIO section titles
|RfR = request for resource