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26 Nov 2008 : Column 2217W—continued


Asylum: Iraq

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Iraqis who have successfully submitted applications under the (a) Locally Employed Staff Assistance Scheme for resettlement in the UK and (b) Gateway Refugee Protection programme are awaiting transfer in (i) Jordan, (ii) Iraq and (iii) Syria. [233223]

Mr. Woolas: I will write to the hon. Member.

Asylum: Sussex

Ms Barlow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reports she has received from (a) Sussex Police and (b) other sources on the disappearance of two minors from a social services hostel in Hove on 28 September 2006 before the outcome of their asylum hearing had been determined; what investigation there has been of the disappearance; and if she will make a statement. [230770]

Mr. Woolas: I will write to my hon. Friend.


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Asylum: Zimbabwe

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her policy is on the situation of Zimbabwean refugees who have been denied leave to remain in the UK but who will not be deported due to the security situation in their country of origin. [237644]

Mr. Woolas: I will write to the hon. Member.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her policy is on enforced removals to Zimbabwe. [237645]

Jacqui Smith: I will write to the hon. Member.

Biometrics: Pilot Schemes

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many pilot schemes for new biometric technology have been carried out over the last five years. [232821]

Jacqui Smith: I will write to the hon. Member.

Borders: Personal Records

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what deadlines have been set in respect of (a) outbound and (b) inbound travel document information under the e-borders scheme for (i) leisure aviation, (ii) scheduled aviation, (iii) ferries, (iv) international rail, (v) boats, (vi) light aviation and (vii) other sectors. [239288]

Mr. Woolas: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Gentleman in the time available before Prorogation.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she made of the likelihood of compliance with requirements set under the e-borders scheme for inbound travel documents of those charter and leisure operators serving popular tourist destinations by 2009. [239289]

Mr. Woolas: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Gentleman in the time available before Prorogation.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects the projected benefits to the leisure and charter industry from the e-borders scheme to begin to flow. [239290]

Mr. Woolas: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Gentleman in the time available before Prorogation.

British National Party

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information she holds on whether allegations of threats of violence have been reported to the police by members of the British National Party since the Party's membership list was posted on the internet; and if she will make a statement. [239215]

Mr. Coaker: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Gentleman in the time available before Prorogation.


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British Nationality

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proportion of people resident in the UK hold UK citizenship; [225102]

(2) when she plans to reply to question 225102, tabled on 3 October 2008, on UK citizenship. [238445]

Mr. Woolas: I will write to the hon. Member.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people of each nationality were granted UK citizenship in the periods (a) from 1977 to 1987, (b) from 1987 to 1997 and (c) from 1997 to the most recent year for which figures are available. [233538]

Mr. Woolas: I will write to the hon. Member.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people granted British citizenship had not attended citizenship ceremonies in each year since their introduction. [234786]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 11 November 2008]: The requirement to attend a citizenship ceremony was inserted into the British Nationality Act 1981 by section 3 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 with reference to Schedule 1 of that Act.


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Section 42 of the British Nationality Act 1981 (the Act) sets down the requirement that persons of full age (being 18 years) should not be registered or naturalised as a British citizen or British overseas territories citizen unless they have made the relevant citizenship oath and pledge at a citizenship ceremony.

Discretion may be exercised under section 42(6) of the Act to disapply the requirement to attend a citizenship ceremony in the special circumstances of a particular case.

The Annex provides the requested breakdown of figures since commencement of this requirement in 2004 of those who have not attended a citizenship ceremony. Children are exempted in law from the requirement to attend a citizenship ceremony and this is also represented in the Annex.

In total, 465,595 persons of full age who were therefore required to attend a citizenship ceremony were registered or naturalised as a British citizen between 2004 and 2007. A total of 650, equating to 0.14 per cent. of this total were exempted from the requirement to attend a citizenship ceremony as a result of the exercise of discretion by the Secretary of State during this period.

Exemptions are only granted in exceptional circumstances; for example, when a requirement to attend a ceremony would have national security implications or when an applicant cannot attend due to chronic illness or disability.

Annex A: nationality grants and exemptions from ceremonies—(excluding ceremony attended)
Ceremony overseas (exemption) Grant Total grants over 18 (excluding minors)
Outcome year Total not attended a ceremony Over 18 Under 18 Over 18 Under 18 Over 18 Percentage not attended

Total

138,930

300

5

350

138,280

465,595

0.14

2004

15,540

*

55

15,480

109,860

0.05

2005

40,760

25

130

40,605

120,060

0.13

2006

42,410

205

*

100

42,105

111,575

0.27

2007

40,220

65

65

40,090

124,100

0.10

* = Negligible i.e. 2 or less.
Notes:
1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.
2. Ceremonies were introduced on 1 January 2004, therefore only application dates post 1 January 2004.
Source:
Local Management Information

British Nationality: Assessments

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Answer of 10 November 2008, Official Report, column 788W, on British nationality: assessments, if she will give a breakdown by nationality of the pass rate for the Life in the UK test in each of the last eight quarters for which figures are available. [237784]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 20 November 2008]: The figures in the table provide the nationality pass rates for the Life in the UK test. The nationality is recorded from the identity document presented by the candidate.

Where the data are blank no candidates with that nationality took the test in that quarter.

It is unclear why British citizens would wish to take the test and some of these records may be inputting errors.

A copy of the table has been placed in the Library.

Brussels

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department spent on visits by its staff to Brussels in 2007-08; and how many such visits were made by (a) air and (b) rail. [239421]

Mr. Woolas: It has not proved possible to respond to the right hon. Gentleman in the time available before Prorogation.

Cannabis

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the reclassification of cannabis as a Class B drug will be implemented; and on what date the new law will take effect. [233050]

Mr. Alan Campbell: [holding answer 4 November 2008] The draft Order to reclassify cannabis to a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was laid on 13 October. If approved by Parliament, cannabis will be reclassified on 26 January 2009.


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Cannabis: Crime

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effects of the reclassifying of cannabis on the number of people receiving a custodial sentence for offences relating to the drug each year. [227806]

Mr. Alan Campbell [holding answer 20 October 2008]: A full regulatory impact assessment (IA) has been published to accompany the parliamentary draft order to reclassify cannabis from class C to class B under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The IA can be found at:

Based on a number of key assumptions, the IA forecasts the potential liabilities associated with the change in classification and the proposed accompanying enforcement approach, including an estimate of the number of offenders likely to receive a custodial sentence for a possession offence. For the supply, trafficking and production offences the IA set out the reasons why an assessment has not been made at this time. These include that fact that the maximum sentence prescribed by the 1971 Act is unchanged at 14 years; current Crown court guideline judgments relate to cannabis when it was a class B offence; and new guidelines from the Sentencing Guidelines Council are due shortly.

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to ensure that multiple cannabis warnings are not issued by the police to the same person. [232130]

Mr. Coaker: [ h olding answer 3 November 2008]: The Home Secretary has accepted the Association of Chief Police Officers' proposal for an enforcement approach that allows for a process of escalation for simple possession in England and Wales. Effective recording is important. Subject to consultation and Parliamentary approval, the new approach will include Penalty Notices for Disorder for cannabis possession and these will be recorded on the Police National Computer. The new Pentip 24 hour national fixed penalty database due to be available from 2010 will be developed to include a facility to also record cannabis warnings. In the interim, it is the responsibility of individual forces to determine how they record cannabis warnings. ACPO will ensure that all forces are fully aware of the importance of more accurately recording cannabis warnings locally.

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance her Department has provided to police forces on the appropriateness of issuing (a) warnings, (b) cautions and (c) penalty notices for disorder for the possession and supply of cannabis. [232132]

Mr. Coaker: [ h olding answer 3 November 2008]: The Home Office has not issued guidance for any of these disposals in relation to the possession and supply of cannabis. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) issued updated guidance on dealing with cannabis possession in January 2007. Guidance on the use of the simple caution is set out in Home Office circular 16/2008. This is general guidance and does not deal specifically with drugs offences. Penalty Notices for disorder are not currently a disposal option for cannabis offences.
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However, subject to parliamentary approval, they could become part of the proposed escalation policy for cannabis possession.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average amount of police time taken to issue (a) a simple caution for cannabis possession and (b) a cannabis warning was in the latest period for which figures are available. [234214]

Jacqui Smith: My Department does not hold figures on the specific average times in relation to issuing cautions for cannabis offences or for issuing cannabis warnings.

However, as part of the regulatory impact assessment carried out to accompany the draft order to reclassify cannabis from Class C to Class B under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 an estimate of police time to issue a cannabis warning was made. This estimate, based on operational advice and experience from Merseyside and the Metropolitan police forces and available research, was 0.81 hrs (i.e. 48.6 minutes). No specific time estimate for issuing a caution over and above the time taken for arrest was made in the impact assessment. The impact assessment is published at:


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