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29 Apr 2008 : Column 338W—continued


Entry Clearances

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria are applied in determining a visa application from an individual accused of promoting race hate. [197334]

Mr. Byrne: The Home Secretary may exclude from the UK any person where she judges that their presence here would not be conducive to the public good. A person so excluded will be refused a visa or permission to enter the UK should they make such an application. In August 2005 the then Home Secretary published a list of certain behaviours which, if engaged in, would normally lead to a person being excluded or deported from the UK. That list includes the expression of views that

Those who promote “race hate” fall within this provision.

Forced Marriage

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what steps the Government has taken to reduce the number of forced marriages; [201657]

(2) what steps the Government has taken to assist those who have been subject to forced marriage. [201659]

Mr. Coaker: In January 2005, the joint Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) was set up by the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The FMU leads on Government policy on forced marriage and has developed guidelines for professionals (the police, education professionals, health and social workers) on how to deal with cases of forced marriage. In addition, as part of the National Domestic Violence Delivery Plan, the FMU coordinates an outreach programme to raise awareness of the problem, and runs a dedicated support and advice helpline for victims of forced marriage. The FMU also works with embassies and high commissions overseas to rescue and repatriate those British citizens forced into marriage overseas.

Last year the FMU:

We have also established an Honour Based Violence Steering Group, led by the Home Office, to identify actions and develop a work programme to address honour based violence and also develop a more dedicated approach to respond to the needs of Black, Asian and minority ethnic victims of domestic violence over the next few years.

Genetics

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the advantages and disadvantages of taking mandatory DNA samples from all UK citizens as part of her policy formulation on DNA sampling; and if she will make a statement. [201164]

Meg Hillier [holding answer 24 April 2008]: We have no current proposals for the establishment of a universal database for DNA. There are practical and ethical implications of moving to such a position and any proposal to do so would need to be subject to lengthy and detailed public debate.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Forensic Science Service has taken to ensure compliance with the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods’ standards. [201457]

Meg Hillier: The Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (“SWGDAM”) standards refers to guidelines that were written primarily for assisting North American forensic laboratories in meeting
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defined quality standards. Forensic Science Service Ltd. (“FSS”) operates to a forensic science quality framework that incorporates independent accreditation of the organisation’s scientific methods, and standards employed for validating techniques, to the international quality standard IS017025, (General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories). The FSS is also registered as compliant with the international quality standard IS09001 (Quality Management Systems). The FSS’ validation standards and the SWGDAM validation guidelines are similar; however as an additional measure since December 2007, the FSS has implemented a process that involves checking against the SWGDAM validation guidelines when implementing new DNA techniques into casework. The FSS has shared its standards for technique validation with the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes, who have adopted them in their own published guidelines for validation, with which the FSS are fully compliant.

Genetics: Databases

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the average annual cost is of storing a DNA sample with a company or organisation that analyses such samples for the purposes of producing profiles for the national DNA database; and if she will make a statement; [188148]

(2) how much the Department has spent storing DNA samples with companies and organisations that analyse samples for the purposes of producing profiles for the national DNA database in each year since it became operational (a) in total and (b) broken down by organisation or company; and if she will make a statement; [188149]

(3) what information accompanies a DNA sample sent to a company or organisation for the purposes of producing a profile for the national DNA database; and if she will make a statement; [188150]

(4) how many DNA samples are stored by companies or organisations that analyse samples for the purpose of producing profiles for the national DNA database (a) in total and (b) broken down by company or organisation; and if she will make a statement. [188151]

Meg Hillier: The costs of processing and storing DNA samples fall to individual police forces and are dependent on the contractual agreement between the force and their forensic supplier or suppliers. This information is commercially confidential.

The information accompanying a DNA sample taken under Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 powers from a person arrested for a recordable offence which is sent to a company or organisation for the purposes of producing a profile for the national DNA database is as follows:


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Information is not held on the number of samples held by each forensic supplier.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people (a) without a criminal conviction and (b) in total had their profiles recorded on the national DNA database in each of the last three years. [201987]

Meg Hillier [holding answer 28 April 2008]: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone) on 13 December 2007, Official Report, column 761W.

Hemp

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the licensing regime for industrial hemp cultivation in preventing illegal drug production. [200536]

Mr. Coaker: Cultivation was first permitted in 1992 since when it has not given rise to any significant problems.

Illegal Immigrants: Restaurants

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many immigration raids have taken place on eating establishments in each month since 1 January. [199438]

Mr. Byrne: There is no published information on how many immigration raids have taken place on eating establishments in each month since 1 January.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were found to be working illegally in the restaurant industry in (a) 2007 and (b) each month in 2008. [199439]

Mr. Byrne: There is no published information on how many people were found to be working illegally in the restaurant industry in (a) 2007 and (b) each month in 2008.

Immigration

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis is of her estimate that the annual inflow of immigrants
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contributes £6 billion to the economy; and what estimate she has made of the annual expenditure of immigrants on goods and services, including repatriated earnings. [199708]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 21 April 2008]: The evidential basis for the impact of migration on trend economic growth is set out in the joint Home Office—DWP submission to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs, The economic and fiscal impact of immigration.

According to official data from the Office for National Statistics, migration added around 0.5 percentage points per annum to growth in the working age population between mid 2001 and mid 2006, and, therefore to overall trend output growth. On this basis, the contribution of migration to economic growth in 2006 would have been some £6 billion.

The trend growth framework employed by the Treasury, and the impact of migration on the trend growth projection, is set out in Trend growth: new evidence and prospects, available at:

The information requested on expenditure and remittances falls within the responsibility of the Office for National Statistics. No statistics are collected on expenditure by immigrants on goods and services. The available information on remittance payments was laid out in a letter from the National Statistician to Lord Lament of Lerwick on 19 November 2007, Official Report, House of Lords, columns WA47-48, in answer to his parliamentary question of that date, to which I refer the hon. Member.

Immigration Officers

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance she has given on the distance a designated officer may pursue an individual they have detained or attempted to detain at a port who subsequently leaves the port under the powers in section 2 of the UK Borders Act 2007. [199146]

Jacqui Smith: I reported to the House on 3 April on the creation of the UK Border Agency, setting out the purpose and power of the agency to protect our border and making reference to the delivery of new powers to front line officers, including the powers in section 2 of the UK Borders Act.

Full guidance and suitable training will be provided to designated officers before they exercise the section 2 powers. In relation to pursuit, guidance will reflect that this power was introduced to enable a designated immigration officer to go to the immediate vicinity outside the port for the purpose of returning to the port an individual who has absconded from detention.

The guidance will also reflect that in practise, the use of the pursuit power will need to be assessed dynamically on a case by case basis by the designated officer, while weighing benefits against risk and taking full account of their own and their colleagues' safety, as well as that of the individual and members of the public.


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Immigration: Housing

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 26 March 2008, Official Report, column 276W, on immigration: housing, how much funding is available for local authorities in the transitional costs fund; how much has been disbursed; which local authorities have received funding; and over what timescale such funding will be available. [198249]

Mr. Byrne: The financial support available will depend on the claims made by local authorities. Funding will be available for some items of expenditure incurred by local authorities on an agreed cohort of supported families cases processed by the Agency. We cannot therefore accurately estimate the level of funding required.

At the present time no payments have been made to any local authority. Support will be made available to individual authorities for a maximum of six months after they have begun to incur qualifying expenditure.

Immigration: Iraq

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Iraqi nationals were granted asylum in the UK in each of the last five years. [197382]

Mr. Byrne: Information on the number of Iraq nationals granted asylum in the United Kingdom is published in the annual Statistical Bulletin Asylum Statistics United Kingdom. Provisional figures for 2007 are published in the Quarterly Asylum Statistics Fourth Quarter 2007. Copies of these publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website at:

Immigration: Pakistan

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of immigration applications from Pakistan claiming Afghan refugee status in each of the last 10 years. [201631]

Mr. Byrne: The requested information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case records.

Information on asylum applications is published quarterly. Copies of asylum publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at:

Immigration: Standards

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps will be taken to reduce queuing and waiting times at ports and borders, as referred to in the UK Borders Agency Business Plan; and if she will make a statement. [200587]


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Jacqui Smith [holding answer 23 April 2008]: The UK Border Agency is committed to improving the customer experience at our borders and we continue to engage with port operators to deliver this. Work on a set of port by port national standards is already under way and this will be rolled out from June 2008.

The UK Border Agency is also working with the Department for Transport to implement an action plan (as published in November 2007), which will set new standards for the processing of passengers on arrival for implementation over the course of 2008.

Also during the course of 2008 we shall be introducing Service Level Agreements with port operators which will include:

We would expect these plans to be completed in time to deliver real operational benefits over the course of 2008.

In addition to this we have already implemented the following:


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