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Scientists and Technicians: Emigration

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Clinton-Davis: The US National Science Foundation (NSF) publishes data on immigrant scientists, engineers and technicians. The latest available year with data for immigrants from the UK is 1993. The figures for the period 1988 to 1993 are as follows:

A briefing paper put out by the NSF in June last year noted that the overall pattern of immigration of scientists and engineers in the 1980s was quite stable, but changed dramatically from 1990-93 as a result of changes enacted in the US Immigration Act of 1990. It went on to note that in 1994 there had been a major decline in total admissions, but a detailed breakdown showing the UK position that year is, I understand, not yet available.

There are no data on the average cost to the British taxpayer of the education and training of the emigrants concerned, and the Government have no intention of pursuing the related issues which the Questions raise.

Disaffected Children: Response to Report

Baroness Mallalieu asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to respond to the Education and Employment Select Committee's Report on Disaffected Children.[HL2414]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The department has produced its response to the Select Committee's Report on Disaffected Children. A copy of the response has been sent to the Education and Employment Select Committee. A copy will be placed in the Library.

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Private Sector Prisons: Review Reports

Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the reports of the two reviews on private sector prisons which were announced on 19 June 1997.[HL2453]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): I am placing in the Library copies of the reports to the two reviews announced by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary to another place on 19 June 1997. The Prison Service has already sent copies to unions and to the contractors.

Female Prisoners: Expenditure Per Capita

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the planned expenditure in real terms per woman prisoner for 1998-99, compared with that in 1995-96.[HL2318]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Information is not available in the form requested, as expenditure is not planned separately for male and female prisoners. The available information relates to budgets for prison establishments holding female prisoners only, and is as follows:

    Present operating cost budgets for 1998-99 for prisons holding only female prisoners: £59.8 million.

    Average number of places (certified normal accommodation (CNA)) at end May 1998: 2,471 Present average cost per place 1998-99: £24,200.

    Net operating costs for 1995-96 for prisons holding only female prisoners: £45.2 million (£49.2 million at 1998-99 prices).

    Average number of places (CNA) in 1995-96: 1,906.

    Average cost per place in 1995-96: £23,700 (£25,800 at 1998-99 prices). Some prisons hold both male and female prisoners. It is not possible to identify separate costs for female prison places in those circumstances.

Asylum Seekers: Deportations

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In how many cases of refusal of asylum, where all the appeal procedures had been exhausted and where deportation was the next step, were applicants actually deported in 1996 and 1997; and what were these figures as a percentage of the total.[HL2333]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The available information on removals and voluntary departures of asylum applicants during 1996 and 1997 is given in the table. The figures cover persons who had applied for asylum at some stage and may therefore include some

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persons who departed voluntarily before a decision had been taken on their asylum application or prior to the outcome of an appeal.

Regrettably, comprehensive information on the total numbers of failed asylum seekers who had exhausted their rights of appeal and who had no right to stay in the United Kingdom, during a period of a year could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Removals and voluntary departures of asylum applicants, excluding dependants, 1996-1997(1)

Port removals(2)2,6914,032
Enforcement removals(3)2,1192,987

(1) 1997 data are provisional.

(2) Includes any voluntary departure up to and including notification of the decision on the asylum application but excludes any subsequent departure.

(3) Includes those departing voluntarily following the initiation of enforcement (deportation or illegal entry) action.

Prisons: Taxation of Visiting Ministers' Fees

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Williams of Mostyn on 30 March (WA 9), whether they will explain the discrepancy between this Answer that "visiting ministers who receive payments for fees and expenses are to be treated as office holders within the Prison Service and must be subjected to Income Tax Class 1 National Insurance contributions", a letter from the Director-General of HM Prison Service, dated 31 May, saying that "... visiting ministers are to be treated as employees for tax purposes and as such the Prison Service must make the necessary tax deductions" and Prison Service Instruction 17/1998, which provides that "there is no tax or Class 1 National Insurance" in five sets of circumstances, including where the payments are made directly to a registered charity; and whether they will cause the Inland Revenue to repay any amounts incorrectly deducted in the past in these circumstances.[HL2270]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The earlier reply stated the general position on visiting ministers who receive payments for fees and expenses, which is that they are to be treated as office holders within the Prison Service and are subject to Income Tax and Class 1 National Insurance contributions. There are certain limited exceptions to this, which is why the noble Lord was invited to write to the Director-General of the Prison Service if he was aware of any particular cases where there was doubt over the applicability of this action in any particular case. I was unaware at that time that such a letter had already been sent to the Director-General.

The Director-General's letter of 31 March restated the general position based on the guidance then in force. This has since been clarified by Prison Service Instruction No. 17/1988, issued on 9 April, a copy of which is available in the Library. This lists, in paragraph

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14, certain circumstances where the liability to tax and National Insurance contributions does not apply. The Director-General's letter explained that no clear documentation had been received by the prisons concerned that the payments in question were being made to a registered charity. The Director-General will write again to the noble Lord on this matter.

Prisons: Unlicensed Software

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What payments have been made by the prison authorities in England and Wales and in Scotland respectively in respect of unlicensed software found to have been used in their establishments as a result of enquiries by the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) or otherwise; what measures have been taken to ensure that unlicensed software is not being used at prisons which have not been investigated by FAST; and whether they are satisfied that there are no remaining instances of software piracy in any prison.[HL2271]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: After a full audit of one prison in England, £37,600 was paid to FAST in respect of software for which current licences could not be proved. Existing Prison Service instructions on the need for diligence in this respect have been reinforced by the issue of audit software to all public establishments with the further instruction requiring an annual audit to be carried out. Backed up by appropriate independent audit checks, this provides a reasonable level of assurance that any misuse of software, inadvertent or otherwise, can be identified and corrective action taken.

In Scotland, no such payments have been made. Scottish Prison Service software is centrally procured. Network security designed to prevent unlicensed software being used locally is in place.

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