Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Asylum Applications

Lord Renton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Provisional information on the number of asylum applications for 2000 is available on the department website at

Information on how many applications made in 2000 are still awaiting a decision, and on the outcome of decisions on such applications, is not yet available.

Information on the number of people who applied for asylum in 2000 and have subsequently absconded in an attempt to evade the control is not available.

Asylum Control: Costs

Lord Renton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The total cost of running Immigration and Nationality Directorate operations in 1999-2000, including the cost of administering the asylum control, was £260 million. The current costs of administering asylum control are currently not distinguished separately from overall operational costs.

Asylum Seekers: One-Stop Services

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Home Office provides grant funding to a number of key voluntary organisations to develop a network of one-stop-services in the cluster regions. The following list indicates where such services are being provided within the regions and by which voluntary sector organisation. The voluntary sector one-stop services

31 Jan 2001 : Column WA62

which are funded by NASS are not intended to provide a drop-in service to asylum seekers supported by NASS and therefore distance from one-stop services and accommodation within the cluster areas is not relevant.

LocationVoluntary Organisation
LondonRefugee Council
IpswichRefugee Council
BirminghamRefugee Council
LeedsRefugee Council
NewcastleNorth of England Refugee Service (NERS)
SunderlandNorth of England Refugee Service (NERS)
MiddlesbroughNorth of England Refugee Service (NERS)
DoverMigrant Helpline
FolkestoneMigrant Helpline
MargateMigrant Helpline
HastingsMigrant Helpline
BrightonMigrant Helpline
GlasgowScottish Refugee Council
EdinburghScottish Refugee Council
CardiffWelsh Refugee Council
SwanseaWelsh Refugee Council
LeicesterRefugee Action
NottinghamRefugee Action
ManchesterRefugee Action
LiverpoolRefugee Action
BristolRefugee Action
ExeterRefugee Action
PlymouthRefugee Action
SouthamptonRefugee Action
OxfordRefugee Action
NorthamptonRefugee Action

Immigration Act Detainees in Prison

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which prisons are currently being used to hold asylum seekers; and how many are being held in each.[HL434]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The requested information is contained within a monthly table provided as deposited papers that are placed in the Library on a monthly basis. The most recent table shows the number of detainees as at 31 December 2000. A copy of this table is provided aside for ease of reference.

These figures include all those persons detained in prisons exclusively under Immigration Act powers, not just asylum seekers. No-one is detained solely because they have made an application for asylum. These figures are not recorded in such a way as to identify those who are held pending deportation or those serving a sentence following criminal conviction, who may have applied for asylum at some point.

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the criteria which are used in making decisions to hold asylum seekers in prisons.[HL435]

31 Jan 2001 : Column WA63

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The power to detain in designated places of detention, including prisons, are contained in the Immigration Act. Detention criteria are set out in the White Paper Fairer, faster, firmer. Where the decision to detain an individual has been made, he is allocated a detention space. No one is detained solely because he has made an application for asylum.

The Government accept that there will always be the need to use prisons for Immigration Act detainees. This is for reasons of security, control, geographical constraints and availability of space. Prisons will also be used for those prisoners subject to deportation at the end of a prison sentence and those Immigration Act detainees who may need the particular healthcare facilities at a prison.

Robberies and Assaults: Assailants

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of robberies and assaults reported to the Metropolitan Police area are reported by the victim as having been carried out (a) by black assailants and (b) by white assailants.[HL439]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Information is only available on the ethnicity of persons arrested for these offences. Such information was published on 18 January 2001 in the annual Home Office publication Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System. Copies are available in the Library.

Illegal Immigrants: Estimated Numbers

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will explain the methodology by which they calculate their estimates of numbers of would-be immigrants currently illegally at large in the United Kingdom.[HL465]

Lord Bassam of Brighton. There is no official estimate of the number of immigrants unlawfully present in the United Kingdom. However, we are considering commissioning research into this area and expect to let the contract for a feasibility study of possible survey methods shortly.

Parole Board

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made with the review of the Parole Board and the operation of supervised conditional release in the light of the study by the University of Oxford Centre for Criminological Research, The Parole System at Work: A study in Decision Making (Home Office Research Study No 202); and whether consideration has been given to extending the function of HM Inspectorate of Prisons to include the parole process.[HL460]

31 Jan 2001 : Column WA64

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The final report of the Quinquennial Review of the Parole Board and the associated Comprehensive Review of the wider parole processes for determinate and life sentenced prisoners will be completed shortly. The Home Secretary has already accepted an earlier recommendation from the Quinquennial Review that the Parole Board should continue in its capacity as a Non-Departmental Public Body. Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons already monitors the procedures in prison establishments in England and Wales by which prisoners receive parole decisions. This function includes the examination of the timeliness of those procedures and sampling the quality of parole reports.

New Criminal Offences

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many new criminal offences were created in (a) public and (b) local and private legislation enacted during the session 1999-2000.[HL461]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Although the Home Office is responsible for scrutinising proposals for new offences in both public and private legislation no comprehensive records are kept centrally of all new offences created in public legislation. The following information about public legislation therefore relates only to Home Office measures which have been enacted during the 1999-2000 parliamentary Session. The information about local and private legislation covers all private measures during the period in question. Public Legislation The Terrorism Act 2000 created 38 new offences. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 created four new criminal offences. The Football Disorder Act 2000 created two new criminal offences. The Licensing (Young Persons) Act 2000 created one new criminal offence. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 created three new criminal offences. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 created 69 new criminal offences. These are listed at Schedule 20 to the 2000 Act. The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 created three new criminal offences. The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 created two new criminal offences. Local and Private Legislation The Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar (Eriskay Causeway) Order Confirmation Act 2000 created three new criminal offences. The London Local Authorities Act 2000 created 14 new criminal offences.

31 Jan 2001 : Column WA65

Criminal Records Bureau: Charges

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have reached a decision about Criminal Records Bureau charges, in respect of information about criminal records of people volunteering to work with young people.[HL462]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Work is continuing to determine the bureau's costs. Fees will be set to recover the costs of the bureau. An announcement about the level of charges will be made as soon as possible.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page