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27 Jan 2009 : Column 279Wcontinued
Significant progress was made on the EU PNR dossier during the French presidency, especially in increasing technical expertise on the draft instrument. Furthermore, the dossier was raised in the July, October and November
Justice and Home Affairs Councils. The UK's objective is for the instrument to be compatible with UK domestic initiatives, specifically e-Borders. We are seeking a flexible EU instrument allowing member states to address the different threats they face whilst minimising the burdens on industry. Negotiations will continue during the Czech presidency.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many exemptions from the requirement for applicants for British citizenship to attend a citizenship ceremony have been granted on the grounds of ill health. 
Mr. Woolas: 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 following table provides a 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 table.
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. Final figures for 2008 are not yet available.
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. Further breakdown of the figures to distinguish between exemptions on the grounds of national security and chronic illness or disability would require examination of individual files at disproportionate cost.
|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|
|(1) Negligible i.e. two or less.|
1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest five.
2. Ceremonies were introduced on 1 January 2004, therefore only application dates post 1 January 2004.
Local Management Information.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department spent on (a) Christmas parties and (b) staff entertainment in each year between 1993 and 1996. 
Mr. Woolas: I am afraid the Departments accounting system does not hold information for the financial years 1993-96.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research her Department has undertaken on trends in the level of violence towards street-based sex workers. 
Mr. Alan Campbell: The Home Office has commissioned a number of research studies which have considered issues relating to the risk of violence towards those involved in street prostitution. These studies include; For Love or Money: Pimps and the Management of Sex Work (May, T, Harcopops, A, Hough M (2000)); Vulnerability and involvement in drug use and sex work Cusick, L, Martin, A, May, T (2003) and Tackling Street Prostitution: Towards an holistic approach (Hester, M and Westmarland, N (2004)).
In addition to this work the Government's Paying the Price: a consultation paper on prostitution and A Co-ordinated Prostitution Strategy took account of a range of independent research relating to the levels of violence towards those involved in street prostitution. A review of the existing literature on tackling the demand for prostitution and a study of prostitution in nine different countries was also commissioned, last year, to inform the development of policy.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much air mileage incurred through departmental and associated agency travel was offset in 2007-08, broken down by (a) domestic, (b) short-haul and (c) long-haul travel. 
Mr. Woolas: The following table provides a breakdown for how much (a) domestic, (b) short haul and (c) long haul air mileage incurred by the Department and associated agencies through 2007-08 was offset:
The data cover some business areas that are now part of Ministry of Justice.
The Home Office participates in the Government carbon offsetting fund which is co-ordinated by DEFRA. This ensures the Department offsets carbon dioxide emissions from its official air travel.
All official travel is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the civil service management code.
Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been spent on (a) maintaining, (b) decorating and (c) otherwise improving departmental buildings in the last five years; how much has been spent on wallpaper since 2001; and what plans there are for further spending on departmental decoration. 
Mr. Woolas: As records are not held in the breakdown requested the following table gives the total cumulative figure across all three categories requested drawn from available financial records for the last four years.
The aforementioned figures in this table do not include maintenance costs within outsourcing contracts including PFIs. There is no record of any expenditure on wallpaper. Figures for 2003-04 are held in historic format and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Plans for spending in 2009-10 and future financial years which may include decoration works are not yet finalised.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 281W, on departmental consultants, how many passes were issued in the most recent month for which records are available. 
Mr. Woolas: For the period 1-31 December 2008, where records are available, 22 passes were issued to consultants working in the Home Office HQ.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officials in her Department and its agencies are authorised to access electronic files and databases relating to an individuals (a) immigration status, (b) asylum application and (c) passport application; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 16 December 2008]: The information requested is not held centrally. As such, it is not possible to answer the PQ within the time and cost limits of the PQ process.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many freedom of information requests have been received by her Department in 2008 to date; and how many have been (a) granted and (b) rejected. 
Meg Hillier: The Department received 1,489 requests between January and September 2008. Where a response has been provided, information was held in 627 of cases. Responses to 414 requests resulted in information being disclosed in full, 103 requests resulted in partial disclosure, and 110 requests resulted in information being withheld. A request was also refused on 323 occasions where the department did not hold the information, on six occasions where the request was considered vexatious and seven as they were considered to be repeat requests. A response was refused on 191 occasions where it was estimated that the cost limit would be exceeded, and advice and assistance was provided in response to 164 requests.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 336-37W, on Government Departments: information and communications technology, which IP addresses are used by (a) her Department and (b) computers in the offices of its (i) Ministers, (ii) communications officials and (iii) special advisers. 
Mr. Woolas: To help defend against electronic attack, it is standard good information security practice for corporate IT systems, not to publish internal IP addresses.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) security passes and (b) identity cards of her Department and its agencies were reported (i) lost and (ii) stolen in the calendar year 2008. 
Mr. Woolas: The number of Home Office security passes and identity cards reported lost or stolen (broken down where known) in the calendar year 2008 is as follows: 246 security passes were lost and 30 stolen; 15 identity cards have been reported lost and six stolen (warrant cards are included in this figure as for some business areas they are the same document).
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many telephone numbers for which callers are charged at the rate applicable to 0845 numbers are used by (a) her Department and (b) its executive agencies for public access to services. 
Mr. Woolas: There are currently 11 0845 numbers being used by the Home Office and its agencies. The following table outlines these numbers and their purpose.
Passport Office Authentication by Interview (ABI) Booking Line
Family Records Centre (Office of National Statistics) General Register Office Certificate Services
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