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19 Jan 1998 : Column WA211

Written Answers

Monday, 19th January 1998.

Strategic Defence Review: Submissions

Lord Orme asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish those written submissions to the Strategic Defence Review which have been made by individual Service and Ministry of Defence civilian personnel.[HL18]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): Written submissions to the SDR from Service and MoD civilian personnel are part of an internal consultation process. We will therefore place a digest of these submissions in the Libraries of both Houses as soon as it is available.

Iraq: Co-operation with UNSCOM

Lord Orme asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What military contingency planning has been made in respect of recent events in Iraq.[HL188]

Lord Gilbert: Iraq continues to obstruct the work of the United Nations Special Commission, whose purpose is to ensure that Iraq cannot again threaten its neighbours with weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations Security Council has repeatedly made clear that Iraq must co-operate fully and unreservedly with UNSCOM and comply with relevant Security Council resolutions. The United Kingdom is working with other members of the Security Council to secure Iraq's co-operation through diplomatic means. If these efforts fail, we may need to consider other measures, including the use of force. As a contingency, HMS "Invincible", accompanied by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary "Fort Victoria", will, therefore, sail to the Gulf to join other UK forces and those of our allies already operating in the region.

European Social Fund: Grants to London Boroughs

Lord Bethell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much money has been made available from the European Social Fund, in each of the past three years, for each of the London boroughs; and whether they will give details of each individual project which has received funds.[HL1]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): London boroughs have in the past three years submitted successful bids for European Social Fund money which amount to £6,292,548.29 for 1995, £7,738,583.14 for 1996 and £4,309,100.49 for 1997. The following table shows how much money each of the London boroughs have either received or expect to receive as a result of

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their approved applications in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Documentation providing details of each individual project which has received funds has been placed in the Libraries.

London Borough199519961997
Barking & Dagenham35,875.0091,096.0022,692.20
Hammersmith & Fulham117,615.00170,616.19105,425.27
Kensington & Chelsea142,421.38192,521.00130,200.00
Kingston upon Thames45,267.0046,452.007,306.00
Richmond upon Thames133,687.10145,364.30149,564.75
Tower Hamlets706,237.00701,185.08151,809.40
Waltham Forest434,275.44716,537.69561,507.56
Total (£)6,292,548.297,738,583.144,309,100.49

Youth Crime: Ethnic Monitoring

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements will be made for ethnic monitoring of the new orders proposed in the consultation paper Tackling Youth Crime (September 1997).[HL30]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Ethnic monitoring of the new criminal disposals proposed in the consultation paper will be included as part of the new system of ethnic monitoring being developed for the criminal courts. A description of this system was included in the Home Office publication Race and the Criminal Justice System published in December 1997.

Asylum Seekers

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether an applicant for asylum who arrives at a port of entry suffering from illness, is granted emergency admission to hospital, and applies for asylum immediately on becoming fit to do so, should be regarded as a port of entry applicant or an

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    in-country applicant; and what guidelines or precedents should be applied to this situation.[HL14]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: To be classified as a "port" asylum application, the asylum claim must be made prior to the grant of leave to enter by an immigration officer. After that, the asylum claim would be classified as "in-country". In the situation described, the key issue would be whether the immigration officer had completed his/her examination and granted leave to enter prior to the asylum claim or not.

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will improve the wording of the RON 58 renewal letter for those on exceptional leave to remain to make clear that the leave which is granted is exceptional leave to remain.[HL15]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There are at present no plans to change the wording. The letter is used when an extension of stay is granted to someone who is unable to provide a passport or other travel document. The stamp affixed to it specifies the duration of the extension and any conditions or restrictions attached to the leave. People given exceptional leave to remain are notified of this and any attendant conditions when such leave is first given.

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What the correct procedure is for asylum seekers arriving at Waterloo International to make a port of entry application for asylum, and whether they believe this procedure is working well.[HL16]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The procedures in place for claiming asylum at Waterloo International are exactly the same as those operated at any of the ports of arrival in the United Kingdom. To make an asylum claim, the applicant has simply to tell the immigration officer that he/she wishes to do so. There is no indication that these procedures are not operating correctly at Waterloo International.

UK Aid to International Small Scale Business Sector

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of their total aid and development budget is being used for loans, training and indirect support for the smallest businesses and service providers in developing countries (a) in 1997-98; and (b) in 1998-99.[HL31]

Lord Whitty: In 1997-98, DFID will spend about 1 per cent. or £20 million of our total expenditure on support to micro and small businesses in developing countries. It is difficult at this stage to confirm a figure for 1998-99 (since a number of large projects are awaiting approval), but the proportion of aid spent in this way is likely to continue to increase as our micro enterprise development programme scales up in India, east and southern Africa.

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These projects tend to be small in size and management-intensive. We currently have over 200 projects, 50 per cent. in Africa and about 40 per cent. valued at £250,000 or less. The majority of these projects develop intermediary institutions to provide sustainable support to micro enterprise. This requires very little capital expenditure but absorbs considerable time and technical and administrative resources. We believe this strategy yields the greatest impact.

In addition, about 10 per cent. (or £13 million) of funds to the transition countries of central and eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union goes towards support to the small-scale business sector.

Town and Country Planning: Policy

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will announce their policy for the future of town and country planning in England.[HL167]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): We have today placed copies of a policy statement in the Library of the House. This statement confirms that we shall retain the principles of the town and country planning system established by the post-war Labour Government. For 50 years, these have demonstrated their flexibility and served us well. There are, however, a number of missing dimensions that this Government will put in place to cope with the challenges they now face.

These are:

    the European context for planning in this country;

    clearer statements of national policy for the small number of projects where decentralisation of decision-making is not possible;

    effective arrangements for regional planning so that more issues can be resolved at this level;

    a continuous search for improvements in local efficiency; and

    a willingness to consider economic instruments and other modern tools to help meet the objectives of positive planning.

The policy statement on modernising planning describes how we will fill these gaps. As part of this package, we are also today placing in the Library and publishing a consultation paper on the future of regional planning guidance in England.

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