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1 Sep 2008 : Column 1566Wcontinued
NDNAD Service delivery including delivery of IT Development projects
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the proposed proscription of the military wing at Hezbollah, including the Jihad Council and all units reporting to it, including the Hezbollah External Security Organisation, which elements proposed for proscription are not covered by the existing proscription; and what assessment she has carried out of the differences between the level of threat under (a) the existing and (b) the proposed proscriptions. 
Jacqui Smith: The Hezbollah External Security Organisation, a unit of Hezbollahs military wing, was proscribed as a terrorist organisation in the UK in February 2001 because of its involvement in terrorism outside of Lebanon. No other part of Hezbollah was proscribed at that time.
We now have evidence that further parts of the military wing are directly concerned in terrorism, including providing support for Shia militant groups in Iraq who have been responsible for attacks both on Iraqi civilians and coalition forces, and for Palestinian rejectionist groups in the Occupied Palestinian Territories including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2008 therefore proscribes the entirety of Hezbollahs military wing in addition to the External Security Organisation.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people of each nationality were arrested during Operation Pentameter II. 
Mr. Coaker: The verification of the details of those arrested under Operation Pentameter 2 is being taken forward by the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre as part of its analysis of the operation.
Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training on the provisions of the Hunting Act 2004 the police receive. 
[holding answer 21 July 2008]: Training given to police officers on the provisions of the Hunting Act is an operational matter for Chief Officers. The police have made it clear that they will enforce the hunting ban and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) issued guidance for police forces on the practical aspects of enforcing the Hunting Act in 2005. ACPO
are currently doing further work to draw out and disseminate best practice on enforcement of the Hunting Act across the police service ahead of the start of the next hunting season.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many consultation meetings the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Identity has held on identity cards in the last six months; whether (a) these meetings were open to the public and (b) minutes were taken; where these events took place; where future meetings are planned to take place; which organisations and individuals attended each meeting; what form and agenda the meetings took; and what the cost to the public purse has been of this exercise. 
Meg Hillier: Over the past six months I have hosted 11 events throughout United Kingdom, including London, Wales and Scotland. These events were held with key stakeholders representing the public, private and third sectors. The meetings were not open to the general public.
The format includes a presentation about the National Identity Scheme and a question and answer session with the stakeholders. Stakeholders are then invited to comment on the consultation points in the plan on the day or in writing at a later point. Officials note key points made and will publish a summary report of feedback in the autumn of 2008.
In line with the Data Protection Act, I cannot share the names of organisations or the individuals who attended each event. With consent from stakeholders, we will list organisations and individuals who attended the event in the published response.
To date, the total cost is £32,750 which includes venues, audio visual equipment and refreshments.
The schedule of future consultation events has yet to be finalised.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons the funding allocation to projects common to both the identity card and the passport elements of the identity card scheme rose from £63 million in the November 2007 cost report to £275 million in the May 2008 cost report; and what percentage of the cost of the identity card scheme is associated with the minimum necessary upgrade for introducing biometric passports. 
Meg Hillier: The Cost Report has set out those elements of the cost estimates that relate specifically to passports, those cost estimates specific to identity cards, and those cost estimates that are common to both. The cost of registering individuals for passports and ID cards is included in common costs because the same technology infrastructure and business processes will be used. In many cases, the same application will result in the issue of both a passport and an ID card.
The May 2008 Cost Report is based upon the roll-out and phasing of the 2008 Delivery Plan, whereas the November 2007 Cost Report is based upon the 2006 Strategic Action Plan. Therefore, the two reports are not directly comparable.
The estimated common costs are based upon a scale of operation that is delivering volumes of passports and identity cards. It would involve significant nugatory effort to define a split between these costs and it would be a largely theoretical exercise as current plans are for an integrated infrastructure. As such, it is not possible to identify the percentage of the cost of the identity card scheme that are associated with the minimum necessary upgrade for introducing biometric passports.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many identity cards she estimates will be issued to foreign nationals in the first 12 months after their introduction; 
(2) how many identity cards she estimates will be issued to foreign nationals in the first 12 months of the schemes operation, broken down by type of visa giving entry to the UK. 
Jacqui Smith: We expect to issue around 50,000 cards from November 2008 to April 2009 but this depends on volumes applying within the selected categories. Volumes will rise rapidly thereafter and will depend on the speed of implementation and the nature of the immigration categories brought into the scheme.
The issuing of cards is not correlated with the types of visas issued; this is because foreign nationals may be granted leave to remain in another category to their grant of entry.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the oral answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1040, which constabularies have immigration crime partnerships; and what funding her Department has made available for them. 
Mr. Byrne: The following constabularies have partnership agreements in place with UKBA (85 per cent.):
Strathclyde, Grampian, Lothian and Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Greater Manchester Police, Cheshire, Lancashire, Gwent, South Wales, Dyfed Powys, North Wales, Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Cleveland, Durham, Humberside, North Yorkshire, Northumbria, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, West Mercia, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Metropolitan, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Thames Valley Hampshire.
It is intended that, by the end of 2008, all regions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will have Immigration Crime Teams (ICT) in operation. It is also anticipated that Scottish police forces will also have a fully developed ICT in operation by the end of the year. UKBA has allocated £18 million to fund the partnership with the police service.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many on-the-spot fines have been imposed on employers using illegal immigrant labour since February. 
Mr. Byrne: Since the introduction of the new legislation on 29 February 2008, the United Kingdom Border Agency had served 221 Notifications of Liability for a Civil Penalty on employers of illegal migrant workers. This figure represents all Notifications served as of 6 June 2008.
This information is derived from provisional local management information which may be subject to change.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to reduce the availability and use of replica firearms. 
Mr. Coaker: The Government recognise the importance of reducing the availability and use of replica firearms. That is why the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, which came into force during 2007, banned the sale, importation and manufacture of realistic imitation firearms.
We set up the Tackling Gangs Action Programme (TGAP) in September 2007 to tackle gangs in the four cities most affected by gun crime (Birmingham, Liverpool, London and Manchester). A TGAP day of action on 17 November 2007 resulted in the seizure of over 1,000 imitation firearms. In addition, 10 real firearms were seized and 124 arrests made. We are building on the work of the TGAP and continue to work with partners to further reduce the supply of firearms.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times passenger queues at Heathrow Airport incoming immigration security checks have exceeded the designated maximum 10 minute waiting period in the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: The UK Border Agency recognises that it has a responsibility to process genuine passengers without delay but the safety and security of the public remains a priority.
There are arrangements in place at most ports to benchmark performance. Heathrow Airport is among those airports that are currently using a 45 minutes (non-EEA) and 25 minutes (EEA) queuing time as such a benchmark. This is the maximum wait time in which we aim to process passengers and in turn informs staff deployment as well as informing considerations on further investment.
We are clear that the averages are well within these benchmarks but we will continue to work on reducing the occasions where those figures are exceeded.
|Queuing times at London Heathrow from August 2007 until 11 July 2008|
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations she has received on the proposed withdrawal of the patrial concession which allows non-UK citizens to stay and work here if a parent or grandparent was born in the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: We published the Green Paper The Path to Citizenship: next steps in reforming the immigration system in February in which we asked for public views on whether the UK Ancestry route should be retained. We received 529 responses to this individual proposal.
The consultation period ended on 14 May and we published the Governments response document on 14 July. Having carefully considered this proposal we believe it is right to retain a route to citizenship based on UK Ancestry.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects a decision to be made on the immigration status of Mr Rajwant Karr (Ref 1583563). 
Mr. Byrne: A decision on Mr. Karr's application for an entry clearance was made on 6 June.
Our high commission in New Delhi, which had referred the application to the UK for advice, were informed the same day. The decision was resent to the high commission on 21 July when it was realised that it had not been received originally.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will liaise with the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills to ensure that data stored by higher education institutions is compliant with, and accessible by, those operating the UK Border Agency database on introduction of Tier 4 of the new immigration system. 
Mr. Byrne: The points-based system (PBS) requires all sponsors, including higher education institutions, to keep accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive data on the migrants they are sponsoring. To help sponsors meet this requirement, UK Border Agency (UKBA) is committed to working with key stakeholders to develop suitable IT and data capture arrangements.
We will involve representative higher education institutions and others in the elaboration of our IT requirements with our chosen supplier. This will ensure that the sector's existing systems and the exchange of data will be compatible with those of the UKBA.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many businesses had applied for licences to sponsor foreign migrants under the points-based system by 30 June 2008. 
Mr. Byrne: The number of businesses which have applied for licences to sponsor foreign migrants under the points-based system is 210. This figure is rounded to the nearest five.
The figures quoted are not provided under National Statistics protocols and have been derived from local management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many assaults on immigration officers have occurred in the course of their duties in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Byrne: The figures for the number of immigration officers who have been assaulted while on duty for the last five calendar years and 2008 are shown in the following table. The following data have been obtained from the UKBA Accident Reporting Database which records all accidents and other health and other safety related incidents.
|Physical assaults||Verbal abuse|
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