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Lloyd's Solvency

Lord Desai asked Her Majesty's Government: Whether the 15,000 Names in Lloyd's of London who are no longer underwriting but who have open syndicates, have paid into their Deposits at Lloyd's the additional sums which were required by Lloyd's to be paid by the end of August 1995 to cover uncalled losses and thus meet those individual Names' solvency requirement, and what action they will take if they find there is a shortfall in the value of the total assets which was required to be on deposit at Lloyd's for Lloyds' to pass its 1995 solvency test.

Lord Chesham: Lloyd's statutory solvency provisions do not require and do not need to require Names to pay sums by the end of August in any year in respect of losses which remain uncalled. The certificates furnished to the Secretary of State in accordance with Section 8.3 of the Insurance Companies Act 1982, at the end of August 1995, confirmed that the value of the assets available to meet each underwriter's liabilities (including all underwriters who are no longer actively underwriting) was sufficient to meet those liabilities, including all uncalled liabilities. The statement deposited in accordance with Section 86 of the Act demonstrated that the solvency requirements established in accordance with Section 84 of the Act were met.

Oxford Prison

Baroness Faithfull asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

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Letter to Baroness Faithfull from the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 7/11/95.

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the closure of Oxford prison.

Oxford prison was reopened in April 1994 as a temporary measure to provide a short-term solution to a rise in the prison population which coincided with a major refurbishment programme at existing prisons elsewhere and which resulted in a temporary shortage of accommodation. The prison was not modernised, but £170,000 was spent on recommissioning to enable it to reopen.

It is proposed to close the prison by the end of 1996 and, after decommissioning, to sell the buildings and site back to Oxfordshire County Council in accordance with a 19th century legal agreement.

Although the reopening of Oxford was useful as a temporary measure, it would be costly to maintain the buildings, some of which are of great architectural and historical interest, beyond the next two years. It would be more effective to build an additional houseblock in an existing prison, which would not only provide modern accommodation, but also a greater degree of overall security than the minimum level of security available at Oxford. A programme is currently under way to build new houseblocks at a number of existing prisons, which is part of the Prison Service strategy for providing additional prison places. This is in addition to the rebuilding of Lowdham Grange as a Category B prison and the plans to build six new prisons under the Design Contract, Manage and Finance (DCMF) initiative announced by the Home Secretary on 2 September 1993.

Asylum Applications: Short Procedure Pilot Scheme

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will provide figures in relation to the Home Office Pilot Scheme for those seeking asylum from certain listed countries, covering the period from the inception of the scheme to the present day, for (a) the total number of applicants for asylum whose claims were dealt with under the scheme; (b) the countries of origin of those applicants; (c) the proportion of those applicants granted asylum; and (d) the proportion of those applicants granted exceptional leave.

Baroness Blatch: Up until 31 October 1995, 1,050 asylum applications have been considered under the Short Procedure Pilot from nationals of Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, India, Pakistan, Romania and Poland. Of the cases resolved by 31 October, no applicants have been granted asylum or exceptional leave.

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Asylum Applications from Nigerians: Refugee Council Report

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have considered the case study published by the Refugee Council Beyond Belief: The Home Office and Nigeria, and what conclusions they draw from it.

Baroness Blatch: This report is being carefully considered: asylum decisions in individual cases take account of relevant available information from whatever source.

Asylum Applications: Refusals

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there has been an increase in the percentage of refusals for those seeking asylum in the United Kingdom between 1992–93 and 1994, if so what that increase is, and whether they have changed the criteria used for assessing applications by those seeking asylum.

Baroness Blatch: The total percentage of applicants refused asylum, including those not recognised as refugees but granted exceptional leave, has been 97 per cent. in 1992, 94 per cent. in 1993, and 96 per cent. in 1994.

All applications for asylum throughout this period have been considered, as now, against the criteria for recognition as a refugee set out in the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. There has been no change in the criteria for granting asylum. Since the implementation of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993, grants of exceptional leave have been limited to cases where there are genuine humanitarian factors.

Charity Commissioners

Lord Denning asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answers of the Baroness Blatch on 23 and 25 October 1995, whether the regulations referred to in the said Answers were printed and published by the government printer in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 3, subsection 2, of the said schedule and the provisions of the Documentary Evidence Acts 1868 and 1882 referred to in the said schedule and whether, in the absence of such printing, any such regulations are not admissible in evidence and are null and void.

Baroness Blatch: The Charities Act 1993 does not require the Commission to regulate their business by means of regulations printed or published by the government printer.

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The Documentary Evidence Acts 1868 and 1882 do not require regulations to be printed or published by the government printer nor do they contain any provision making such regulations null and void or inadmissible in evidence if they are not so printed and published.

Citizens of Former Yugoslavia: Temporary Protection Places

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements are being made for the reception and support of those additional people whom they announced on 6 August they had accepted under the temporary protection programme for people from the former Yugoslavia.

Baroness Blatch: On 28 July this year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees wrote to a number of governments asking for a further 5,000 temporary protection places for citizens of the former Yugoslavia. In view of the pressing humanitarian need, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced on 6 August that the United Kingdom would accept 500 people (principals and dependants) under the programme. This was an addition to the 1000 vulnerable people and their dependants accepted under the previous programme announced in November 1992. The United Kingdom was one of the first countries in the world to respond to the UNHCR request.

The UNHCR will continue to be responsible for identifying those who are most in need of temporary protection. The first group arrived on 5 October and arrangements are in hand to bring in a further group shortly. The Home Office is continuing to liaise with UNHCR about the timing of further arrivals. The Home Office is funding the Refugee Council, and other voluntary agencies, to support these new arrivals, by running reception centres to accommodate them on arrival, arranging more permanent housing and providing support in the community. Two centres have been opened and two more will open in November. On leaving the reception centres the evacuees will be housed, as were those on the current programme, in "clusters" which enable them to support each other but do not place an undue burden on local services. Programmes are being established to involve volunteers in the work of reception centres and in providing community help such as sports, social and cultural events.

A request was also received from the International Organisation for Migration for the United Kingdom (and other countries) to accept for treatment sick and wounded people from the former Yugoslavia. The United Kingdom has agreed to accept a further 20 medical evacuees. Three patients have so far arrived under this programme.

In addition to the temporary protection programme, the Home Office continues to examine carefully asylum applications made in the United Kingdom by people from the former Yugoslavia. Up to the end of June more than 12,000 people had applied for asylum. The Government's policy remains that those refused asylum

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will not be expected to return to a war zone, but will be granted leave to remain exceptionally until it is safe for them to return.

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